JPMorgan Chase & Co. has begun issuing Visa-branded prepaid cards to participants of a New York transit trial for disabled passengers, city transit officials announced Dec. 16.
Customers of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Access-A-Ride program may use the cards to pay for taxi services on preplanned trips they would traditionally take on the program’s vans, the organization said Thursday.
“For the first time, our disabled customers will be able to take regularly scheduled trips by hailing a yellow taxi and using a special, preloaded Chase debit card,” Jay Walder, authority chairman and chief executive, said in a press release.
The authority designed the Access-A-Ride program for customers unable to use public bus or subway services for their trips. Because most of the program’s customers do not require wheelchair lift service, the agency can save money by enabling customers to schedule their rides using taxi services.
The authority began loading value into the prepaid card accounts on Dec. 9, and Chase has been processing the cards and mailing them to customers. The agency expects to save between $155,000 and $200,000 per month from the change.
The amounts loaded into the card accounts, which cover two weeks of service, vary depending on the customer’s destination and frequency of use. At the end of a two-week period, the customers send a check to the authority to cover $2.25 for each trip taken, at which time it can add more value to their cards.
The pilot, which involves 400 Access-A-Ride customers, could last 90 days, after which the authority may expand the test an additional 90 days or roll it out to more customers.
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