As people age, many are forced to make the difficult decision to give up driving for health or safety reasons. This change often leads to feelings of isolation and dependence. Fortunately, today’s transportation alternatives allow retirees the freedom to stay mobile. Just because someone can no longer use their car to go about daily activities does not mean they need to relinquish their independence. This guide will hopefully shed some light on alternative transportation options that allow retirees to maintain their independence and personal freedom, even without access to a car.
Public Transportation: The most obvious choice is public transportation. These government funded or subsidized programs are an excellent way to travel around your area and are often inexpensive and provide a senior discount. Public transit can consist of buses, subways, trains, light rail, and ferries. If you live in a major metropolitan area, these services are generally extensive and well-maintained. This convenience unfortunately does not extend to rural and suburban areas. In less centralized communities, public transportation is slow or non-existent. Another problem with public transportation is for many retirees, it is physically challenging or impossible, as disabilities can hinder an individual’s ability to utilize public transit.
Paratransit: For those with disabilities, paratransit is a great alternative to public transportation. Paratransit is a service offered to those needing extra assistance travelling around town. This option is similarly priced to public transportation but specifically accommodates those with limited mobility. Buses and cars are designed for wheelchair access and have amenities to make the journey more comfortable. To qualify for paratransit, you must meet certain guidelines set by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Volunteer Programs: Volunteer organizations operate in many areas to provide free or low-cost transportation to retired and disabled individuals. Church groups or other non-profits operate shuttles and cars to transport people to a variety of locations. This is a great option for rural and suburban areas lacking strong public transportation networks, but be sure to schedule your trip in advance.
Ride-Sharing Services: Companies like Uber and Lyft allow passengers to go either directly to their destination or share a ride with others. These services are great because they go to the exact location you specify, unlike public transportation which only makes occasional stops. Unfortunately, ride-sharing can be quite expensive compared to the other options on this list, making it unrealistic for daily use. However, it is a great alternative when convenient.
Hopefully some of the transportation alternatives on this list will allow you remain independent deep into your retirement. Remember to ask about senior or retiree discounts, since many public transportation services offer significant fair reduction to those over 65. Most importantly, no matter your level of mobility, there are options for travelling around town and maintaining your freedom. Research your local area for the best options.
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