For those living off savings, a fixed income, or a part-time job, every dollar counts. This can extremely limit the mobility options older adults have. But there are some steps you can take to try and reduce transportation costs.
Ask For Senior Discounts
- Many publicly-funded transportation options, such as city buses or trains, offer senior discounts. Others offer discounted membership or program benefits. Whenever you take a trip somewhere, make sure to ask about senior discounts.
Consider Ride Sharing
- Using companies that offer ride-sharing services is often more cost-efficient than paying for the privilege of being the only person in the vehicle. It’s simple math: the more people you share the ride with, the less it’s going to be.
See If Transport Is Included
- Just like many colleges have their own transportation services, many assisted living facilities and nursing homes have busses that make regular trips. Common stops include the grocery store and department stores.
Look Into Carpooling
- Many groups that have large numbers of senior adults offer carpooling services. For example, churches and sports centers often have volunteer-run transportation for senior attendees. Ask if this is available and if you can be included.
Save Money Elsewhere
- In case you aren’t able to save money on senior transportation, try finding discounts in other areas to offset costs. You may not get a discount on your ride, but plenty of other stores and services offer senior citizen discounts.
Not all transportation services offer discounts for seniors. This is usually especially true for programs that are already geared toward older adults. They may already feature lower rates because of their main audience. Even so, it can be worthwhile to look into what savings are available to you or your loved one.
How to Find Senior Transportation and Care Resources
Learning about, finding, and arranging transportation for older adults can be daunting. More often than not, senior transportation isn’t as publicized as other transportation services. Because of this, many individuals don’t know where to start looking for information. Thankfully, there are many resources geared at educating individuals and connecting them with affordable resources in their area.
The Eldercare Locator
- Many different states and counties offer public transportation options specifically for seniors. The Eldercare Locator is a free resource provided by the U.S. Administration on Aging. Users can type in their zip code or city and state to find a list of local resources for seniors and caregivers.
Rides in Sight
- Rides in Sight is a database of transportation programs. Users can enter their city and state or zip code and search for programs near them. They can also enter keywords, such as “wheelchair” or “free” to filter for specific programs. For those who prefer to speak to someone, a toll-free hotline is also available.
- The Community Transportation Association of American (CTAA) runs the National Volunteer Transportation Center, which promotes and supports volunteer transportation and ride-sharing initiatives. It has an easy-to-use map that lists volunteer transportation providers by state.
- This is a national senior transportation network that connects 14 communities across 12 states. Similar to the CTAA NVTC’s volunteer map, this organization has an interactive map that shows Independent Transportation Network (ITN) facilities by state.
- The Clearinghouse for Older Road User Safety (ChORUS) is a non-profit project that provides information and resources for the “three major components of highway safety”: roadways, road users, and vehicles. Users can read about road safety and older drivers or browse ChORUS’ listed alternate transportation options.
- The National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC) is a federally funded program that works to connect older adults and people with disabilities with community transportation services. They promote accessible and affordable transportation and provide information and resources for families and seniors.
- The Nation Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A) is the parent network of all current Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), which total over 600 at present. It focuses on supporting and expanding AAAs into a comprehensive transportation network for senior citizens.
There are many resources available for seniors or caregivers who are unsure of how to begin finding affordable transportation. These resources vary in purpose, from directly connecting users to local transportation options to providing instruction on how users can find these options.