Transportation is a challenging issue for some seniors, particularly for those that never learned to drive or that no longer have a valid driver’s license. There is senior transportation options that helps seniors get around their neighborhood, community, and across the country.
Our guide presents transportation options for seniors, and other important information regarding senior transportation.
Seniors and Transportation
Transportation is likely a dilemma for some seniors. Seniors that never had a driver’s license and relied on public transportation potentially have medical or mobility issues that prevent them from walking to the bus stop. Seniors living on a fixed income may not always have enough money for a taxicab.
Family members and friends often do not realize the issues that seniors have with transportation. Seniors understand that their adult children have their own lives and may not let them know how difficult is to get from point A to point B these days. Family members sometimes do not realize the complex issues related to seniors and transportation.
One example related to seniors and their ability to drive safely is when 97-year-old Prince Phillip had two traffic accidents within a short period. He finally gave up his car keys. It does not matter who you are, sometimes giving up the keys is simply the right thing to do for some seniors.
This guide from The Senior List provides options for seniors, likely making transportation an easier, more pleasant experience.
Seniors and Driving
Many seniors still drive their own vehicle. Other seniors are forced to stop driving for a variety of reasons, ranging from vision issues, to health reasons, including because of conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Driving provides seniors with a sense of independence, leaving some seniors in a battle with family, friends, and perhaps even law enforcement when the senior no longer has the ability to drive safely.
If you are a senior that still drives, consider picking up a senior friend or neighbor the next time you plan a trip to the grocery, or a local event. If you are a younger adult, consider driving your senior neighbor to the store or to their appointment.
Seniors often receive discounts on car insurance because they drive less often than drivers of other age groups do, and tend to stay closer to home. Remember that failing to keep your driver’s license and car insurance payments current poses the risk of fines and loss of your driver’s license.
Seniors and Public Transportation
Some seniors have considerable knowledge of public transportation, particularly if they never learned to drive. Other seniors likely have no clue on how to ride public transportation.
Public transportation offers an affordable transportation option. Public transportation is not an option for all seniors because not all communities have public transportation, particularly in smaller communities. When public transportation exists, seniors potentially have to walk a short distance to a bus stop.
Seniors that take public transportation maintain social connections, have the independence of getting to shopping, appointments, activities or special events, and stay connected to friends and family. If you are a senior considering public transportation, visit the website of the local public transportation company or call them on the telephone. Learn about fares, and where bus stops are closest to your home and your destination.
Many communities offer discounts to senior public transportation riders. You likely have to appear in person with your Medicare card or other designated documentation. The company provides you with an identification card that you show drivers indicating your eligibility to pay reduced senior fare.
Transportation for Seniors in a Taxi
Most communities have at least one taxi company, with many communities having several taxicab options for seniors. Taxi fares are not as affordable as they were when some seniors took a cab in their younger days.
Getting into a cab costs well over $3.00 in many communities, with the fare increasing every few blocks. When seniors take a taxi across town to a medical appointment or another destination, they possibly receive a shock when the fare reaches $20 to $30 or even more.
Seniors that rely on taxicab service often find it a convenient way to get around for shopping and running errands. Loved ones of seniors that use taxi service sometimes have no idea that taking a taxi costs so much. Let loved ones know the expense of cab service and perhaps they can help reduce the number of taxicab trips that you take each month.
An alternative to a taxi are ride sharing services and senior transportation services. The following are a list of some options:
Charter Bus and Other Long Bus Ride Options
Seniors go on charter bus trips through their local senior center, community center, church, or on their own after reading about a planned destination online or in the newspaper. Charter buses take seniors to events, activities, casinos, sightseeing tours, and vacation destinations.
Seniors contact the charter bus company to reserve their seat ahead of time. If you plan to take a charter bus trip, your best chance of getting a seat on the bus is to reserve your seat early. Some charter bus trips fill up fast, leaving seniors with the disappointment of waiting until another trip.
Another long bus trip option is Greyhound, Miller-Trailways or your regional long bus trip service. Seniors take public buses on long trips, the same as other age groups. Buses have restrooms in the back, allowing seniors to travel worry-free that they will not make it to the next city.
Some long bus service providers have set fees for specific trips while others offer discounts likely of interest to seniors. Greyhound offers a small senior discount when you purchase your ticket online ahead of time. Simply check the box indicating that you are a senior and your discount comes off the total when you click to pay for the trip.
Another discount likely of interest to seniors is the fact that Greyhound riders often save when booking online. There is a reduction in fare simply for reserving and paying for your seat online ahead of time. Combine these savings with the senior discount and you save several dollars, compared to the normal fare.
Make sure that you print your ticket or check the ‘will-call' box and write down your trip number and confirmation number. Take that information, along with your photo identification when you go to the Greyhound station. Booking your seat online also eliminates the possibility of showing up at the bus station to purchase a ticket only to discover that all seats are sold out.
Senior Community Transportation Programs
Some communities offer seniors an easy transportation option, often at reduced or no cost. Check with your local Area on Aging and look for senior transportation programs.
The Nashville area provides the Senior Ride Nashville for seniors that need transportation. The Franklin County Area on Aging provides Senior Options services for Columbus Ohio area seniors in need of transportation.
A caseworker assesses the need, along with the ability to pay. Seniors receive free or reduced cab fare to all medical appointments each month, and up to 75 miles for other transportation purposes, such as a taxi to and from the grocery, non-medical appointments, or to visit local family and friends.
Seniors have several options for getting around their community, and around the country. Choose one or more options and maintain your independence, visit local family members, make new friends and keep in touch with old friends with senior transportation options.