Cab companies take action to get senior citizens to the polls for free

Posted at 6:08 PM, Oct 22, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-22 23:06:42-04

Six cab companies across Hampton Roads are coming together and taking action to get seniors to the polls on Election Day.

It's less than two weeks away and getting to the voting booths for many, like 82-year old Tommy Hewitt, is tough. Two years ago, his doctor told him he could no longer drive. Now this once strong, independent man has to rely on his children and public transportation to get around.

"It's gets to be very hard on you," Hewitt said. "You just can't get up and go like you could before."

But on Election Day, more than 300 taxi drivers in Hampton Roads are taking action to make it easier for people like Tommy to vote. Hampton Roads Transportation, Inc., a company which dispatches the 6 taxi companies, pitched the idea to the Senior Services of Southeast Virginia and the Peninsula Agency on Aging.

"The elderly, they like to vote," said Hampton Roads Transportation, Inc. Director Frank Azzalina. "They know the importance of voting and we wanted to give the folks who didn't have a ride a way to get there without having to pay."

Azzalina says the drivers will pick the senior citizens up, wait for them while they vote and drop them back off at home. He says they will have to register by November 3rd for the free rides through Senior Services of Southeast Virginia or the Peninsula Agency on Aging.

"They will make the reservation through them and the day before they will send the lists and our driver will pick them wait for them and then take them home," Azzalina added.

Tommy Hewitt didn't even know about the program until NewsChannel 3 took action and told him. He now plans on reserving his ride so he too can exercise his right to vote.

"I still think I have a voice in the country. I pay taxes and everything, and I'd like to know where the money goes and what kind of things they are doing for senior people," Hewitt said.

He adds this new program makes what was once a hard task, easier.

If you'd like and live in Norfolk or Virginia Beach, call  Senior Services of Southeast Virginia at 963-9218 or 222-4513 to make a reservation. If you live in Hampton or Newport News, call the Peninsula Agency on Aging at 873-0541.