Underneath the Long Island Rail Road station in Baldwin, a splash of pink pops from two taxis, bringing color to the scene and raising awareness for a special cause.
The cabs belong to Dawson Taxi, a cab company based in Baldwin that services the South Shore of Long Island. The cabs are a part of the “Pink Ride” program, an internationally recognized campaign organized by the Taxicab, Limousine and Paratransit Association (TLPA), based in Rockville, Md.
The campaign was founded in 2010 to raise breast cancer awareness. During the month of October, in celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, participating members of the campaign donate $100 dollars each week for every pink taxi they have in their fleet.
Passengers are also able to make personal donations. Although taxi drivers are not allowed to collect donations directly, passengers can contribute at the dispatch office or through a “Text-to-Give” number set up by the charity.
Dawson Taxi joined the campaign in 2010 with one pink taxi. The company added another pink taxi to their fleet last year in hopes of making more money to donate to the campaign.
“The first year we donated around $1,750 with only one taxi on the road. We wanted to keep up with that for years to come,” said Jason Verity, operations manager at Dawson Taxi.
Last year, the TLPA donated more than $60,000 to the American Cancer Society, and more than 60 taxi companies participated in the campaign.
Dawson Taxi chooses to keep its pink taxis on the road all year to promote awareness. According to Verity, the pink cabs are popular among customers.
“Some people call and ask for the pink cabs specifically. They’re always asking questions and love what we’re working towards,” Verity said. “Some people just really like riding around in a pink cab, too.”
For the 2012 season, the TLPA is taking the Pink Ride campaign in a new direction. Instead of having one designated charity, participants will be allowed to donate to their charity of choice. Participants will also have the freedom to run their own campaigns.
“I think people would rather give back to their own communities,” said Hal Morgan, executive vice president of the TLPA. “This year, we will keep track of those donations.”
This October, Dawson Taxi plans to donate all of their “Pink Ride” profits to
1 in 9: The Long Island Breast Cancer Action Coalition. The proceeds will benefit
Hewlett House, a breast cancer center that provides education and resources for patients and their families in Hewlett.
Dawson Taxi was the only Long Island-based taxi company to participate in the Pink Ride campaign last year, but, according to Verity, five other cab companies in Nassau have expressed interest in the program.
“It’s a great program,” said Joseph Duffy, a cab driver for Dawson Taxi. “We’re very happy to be a part of it.”