Seniors: Getting Around Without Driving

Whether it's because of safety concerns or lack of confidence behind the wheel, driving as a senior may not always be an option. But this doesn't mean you have to lose your independence.

Below are several alternate modes of transportation you can use as a substitute for driving, along with a few things you should consider in order to select the best option for you.

Transportation Options for Seniors

While giving up your keys may not feel great at first, the good news is you'll still have plenty of options to get around independently.

Here are a few you should consider:

  • Public transportation:
    • Buses, trains, and trams are an excellent way to get around.
    • Cost is usually cheaper than other options.
    • Walking to transfer lines and weather conditions may be a factor.
  • Transportation network companies (TNC):
    • Uber and Lyft are among the most convenient options if you need to get somewhere quickly with minimal fuss.
    • Drivers are usually available everyday and at all hours.
    • Can be cheaper than more traditional taxi services, but will still cost more than some other options.
  • Volunteer transportation programs:
    • Volunteer programs are available for little or no cost in most communities.
    • They are often not affiliated with the government and are funded through grants, donations, religious organizations, and nonprofits.
    • Scheduling in advance may be required, and the hours of operation may be limited.
  • Paratransit services:
    • Available in most cities and communities for people with disabilities.
    • Some shuttles will pick you up from home and provide an escort.
    • May offer reduced fares for those that qualify; a doctor's signature is sometimes required to prove a condition preventing the use of public transportation.
    • Usually run by public transit agencies or senior centers.
  • Carpooling:
    • If you have friends or family headed in the same direction you need to go, it may be a convenient and inexpensive option.
    • You may need to be more flexible with your schedule.
    • More people may be willing to help out if you offer to pay for gas.
    • The driver will be able to use the carpool lane during rush hour.

In addition to these options, walking, bicycling, or opting for grocery and pharmacy delivery services can help you lessen the need for automobile transportation.

For more information about transportation services in your area, contact:

Senior Transportation Considerations

Depending on where you live, you could have multiple private or public transportation options to get around. To decide which option will best suit your needs, you'll need to take a few factors into consideration.

Questions to Ask

Some of the questions you should keep in mind when deciding on a transportation option include:

  • Where are you traveling to?
    • Depending on the distance, cost and convenience could play a factor.
  • Will a friend or family member be available to take you?
    • If you're going somewhere that may take a while, having a family member or friend take you may or may not be an option.
  • Do you qualify for disability services?
    • If so, you may qualify for ride services.
  • What is your transportation budget?
    • You'll need to decide how much you'll be able to spend on transportation each month. Your budget will help you determine which option is the most realistic.

Important Factors

Other factors that will play a role in determining which option is best for you include:

  • The flexibility of your schedule.
    • Waiting for public transportation isn't always an exact science. If you need to be somewhere at a specific time, you'll want to plan accordingly and give yourself a bit more time. Additionally, many public transportation systems now provide smartphone apps to help you know exactly when a bus or train will arrive.
    • If you plan to use a state or local transportation service, you may have to schedule a pickup in advance.
  • Service locations.
    • If you decide to take public transportation, you may have to do a bit of walking if you multiple buses or trains are required.
    • If you opt for a taxi or other transportation service, you may be able to get picked up at your front door.
  • How safe you feel.
    • Consider if you'll have to make a transfer in areas you're not familiar with.
    • Likewise, if you have a disability or rely on a walker or wheelchair to move around, not all options are going to be equal in terms of safety.
  • Overall cost.
    • While discounts may be available for some of your options, there will be a difference in price depending on which option you choose.

For more information about surrendering your driving privilege, please check out our guide to senior driving.

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