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Winnipeg taxi companies offering ride vouchers to get seniors vaccinated

The local taxi industry is offering vouchers through the Transportation Options Network for Seniors (TONS) to get low-income seniors to their vaccination appointments. Alberta Health Services

Two Winnipeg taxi companies are teaming up to assist seniors in getting immunized against COVID-19.

Duffy’s Taxi and Unicity Taxi announced Friday they’d be offering $10,000 in vouchers to community organizations to ensure those facing accessibility or economic barriers can make it to vaccination centres.

Along with the Winnipeg Community Taxi Association, they’re working with the Transportation Options Network for Seniors (TONS), a non-profit offering information on transportation options, to get vouchers to those who need it.

Eligible people who’ve booked their vaccine appointment can get a voucher by calling 211 to connect with a community partner.

Read more: Winnipeg group campaigns for seniors’ advocate in wake of care home COVID-19 ‘nightmare’

“TONS is extremely grateful for the support of Duffy’s Taxi and Unicity Taxi through this initiative, and we are happy to be able to continue working with our senior-serving community partners to ensure that these vouchers get into the hands of those seniors who need it most,” TONS’ executive director Samantha Rodeck said in a news release Friday.

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Joe Masi, a spokesperson with the local taxi association, said the industry wants to do what it can to facilitate the city’s vaccination efforts, including challenging other businesses and community organizations to help out.

The taxi industry has already played a large part in transporting people to vaccination centres, said the general manager of Duffy’s Taxi, Ram Vallaru.

Gaurav Dhir, Unicity Taxi’s general manager, said the initiative builds on what the industry has already contributed throughout the pandemic.

“We have done everything possible to keep our essential service on the road during the COVID pandemic,” Dhir said. “We want to do what we can to be part of the solution with vaccinations.”

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