Nearly everyone relies on transportation to perform everyday activities. These needs don’t change with age, but access to senior transportation is often limited by both availability and cost.
Senior transportation prices vary depending on the company and how they charge for their services. Companies may charge by the hour, per ride, or even through monthly subscription charges. Transportation prices can range from upwards of $50 per hour to as little as less than $10 per ride.
Depending on which transportation service program you use, senior transportation can be exorbitant or surprisingly affordable. Some programs offer flat rates while others calculate prices on factors such as distance. Luckily, there are many different transportation options that are available to older adults. This makes it easier to find an affordable service that fits your budget.
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Budgeting For The Cost of Senior Transportation
There’s no set price range when it comes to senior transportation. This can be frustrating when searching for a senior transportation company that fits in your budget. But ultimately, this is a benefit, since it means that there are plenty of options for you even if some are outside your financial comfort zone.
The price of senior transportation can change depending on several factors, including:
- The type of transportation company (who you pay)
- Transportation and additional services offered (what you pay for)
- Service charges and pricing models (how you pay)
As a rule, publicly-run services usually cost less than those that are owned by private companies. Companies that offer more comprehensive and targeted senior assistance usually cost more. Services that are more generalized or open to a wider range of audiences cost less. Similarly, companies that charge per hour may cost more than companies that charge strictly per ride.
There are a few different ways that companies charge seniors for their transportation services.
More common pricing models include:
- Many services charge per ride. Some companies will increase the price proportionally to the distance you travel. Plenty of others offer flat rates just for riding. Additional fees based on tolls, extra stops, etc. may or may not be included.
- Hourly charges are present in almost every industry, and senior transportation is no exception. Many transportation companies charge by the hour, which can be more practical if they offer additional services.
- Though not as common, some transportation companies offer membership packages and charge monthly or annual fees. Depending on how often you may use transportation and how far you travel, this can be much more economical.
Ride Plans/ Passes
- This is similar to membership pricing options, except users pay for a pre-determined number of rides or services instead of a pre-determined period of time. Usually, different plans or pass options are available for users’ transportation needs.
Most companies have information about their pricing available on their website, either on a specific page or in their FAQs. If pricing isn’t available, use the listed contact information to call and inquire about how much their services would cost. Though it can take time, you’ll be able to easily compare prices and find the transportation option that works best for you.
Why Do Seniors Need Transportation?
Many senior citizens can’t drive themselves because of failing eyesight, decreased motor control, and other issues. Driving a vehicle would be dangerous for themselves and other people on the road. Because of this, seniors are reliant on other types of transportation.
Seniors need transportation for a wide variety of reasons, including:
- Going to doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, and other medical-related events
- Arriving at and returning home from a part-time or full-time job
- Buying groceries, cleaning supplies, and other necessary household items
- Performing civic duties such as voting and serving as a jury member
- Participating in religious observance or activities at churches, synagogues, mosques, etc.
- Maintaining regular personal hygiene through appointments like haircuts
- Socializing with friends and family in private or public spaces
- Staying active in the community by volunteering, attending local events, etc.
These are just a few reasons why seniors may need access to some sort of transportation. Think of how many times you use your own vehicle or public transportation. Almost everything you need to travel for is the same for seniors.
Transportation is essential for seniors who want to maintain their independence. It can also be crucial for their health, especially if they have no nearby relatives or friends who can provide transportation and otherwise care for them.
Transportation Options for Seniors
There are many senior transportation options. They can be public or private and vary in price depending on their services and specialties. Some specifically operate for older adults, while others can accommodate seniors but are open to riders of all ages. Each service has its own benefits and drawbacks.
Public transportation is funded by the city or state. It includes transport options such as buses, light rails, subways, shuttles, trams, ferries, boats, and even trains. They usually offer rides at a low cost based on a per-ride basis or through purchased passes. However, riding public transportation can take longer depending on its availability in your city.
Paratransit or dial-a-ride transportation is specifically catered toward those with mobility limitations and older adults. They are usually busses that are equipped to handle wheelchairs and other aid devices.