bus driver assists elderly man in wheelchair boarding bus

Age frequently limits mobility, and decreased mobility can effect a senior’s sense of life satisfaction and independence. According to AARP, men typically outlive their driving days by 7 years and women by 10 years. That can be 7–10+ years without the ability to reach an appointment or run to the grocery store without assistance. As the need for senior transportation grows, various organizations are taking steps to provide local transportation services. Here are a few options that may be offered in your area:

1. Ride services

Uber, a ride service that brings a local driver to your location within minutes, has begun to gain popularity with many seniors who have used their smart phones to download the Uber app. Uber allows seniors in select cities to request a ride quickly at a lower cost than most taxi services. Lift Hero offers similar services but catered specifically to serving seniors, allowing them to book a ride online or over the phone with a live operator. If these services aren’t available, certain states and cities offer discounts and vouchers for seniors who want to use local taxi services. Though taxis are often expensive, these discounts can cut the cost by up to 50%, making them an affordable option.

2. Volunteer driver programs

Many nonprofit organizations and community centers offer volunteer-based transportation services, which can generally be found online or through the local Council on Aging in each city. These services are generally free, offered on a donation basis, or at minimal cost. For seniors who participate in a local senior group or club, it may be worthwhile to ask about any transportation services offered through the organization.

3. Paratransit service

Door-to-door or curb-to-curb paratransit services are generally offered through public transit. Information can be found on transit websites. Though many of these services require seniors to make reservations in advance, they often allow a great deal of flexibility in scheduling. Some paratransit services offer reduced fares for seniors and individuals with disabilities while others may on a donation basis.

4. Public transit

Though not all cities offer public transit, those that do frequently try to cater to seniors’ needs with designated seating and wheelchair options. Certain cities offer free ‘Transit Ambassador’ or ‘Transportation Trainer’ services. These ‘Transit Ambassadors’ are essentially public transit employees who will train a senior to use public transportation safely. They will travel on public transportation with a senior for a day until the senior feels comfortable travelling alone.

 

More than 8 million adults over 65 do not drive, which means that many seniors are in need of safe, quality transportation options. While the options in this list are often helpful and can improve the mobility of seniors, it’s also important to work with local aging councils, governments, and entrepreneurs to find more solutions for the growing dilemma of senior transportation.