Transportation Alternatives for Seniors

As senior adults age and give up driving, the need for alternative transportation soars. Since you can’t always rely on friends and family members, here’s a list of resources. Always keep safety and affordability in mind.

Public transportation. Seniors often receive discounted fares on public bus, subway and train systems. Cities may also have mini buses specifically for transporting the elderly and handicapped.

Taxis and ride services. Taxi service is an option for seniors who live in larger cities and towns. A good substitute are the newer ride services, such as Uber and Lyft, but do require users to have a smartphone to install the app.

Volunteer organizations. Faith-based and other charity organizations offer senior transport in handicapped equipped vans and mini buses. These usually are offered at little to no charge.

Nationwide network. The Independent Transportation Network, or ITN, is a nationwide network of affiliated transportation providers and senior riders. Seniors join and set up a personal account, paying in advance at an affordable rate. Affiliate drivers sign up to be transportation providers. A ride can be scheduled at any time and is discounted for advance notice. No money changes hands and tipping is not allowed. Drivers use cars, not buses, and offer door-to-door assistance, helping the rider personally from one location to the next.

Senior-living facilities. One of the major perks of living in a senior-care facility is the transportation provided to doctor appointments, shopping and other destinations. Be sure to ask about the services provided before making any decision to move to a facility.

State and local agencies. Check with your state’s government agency for aging and disability services. It will have links to statewide and local transportation networks that service the elderly.

Federal help. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a website called Eldercare Locator. It offers a menu of service choices for seniors and how to find local providers.