7 Affordable and Safe Transportation Services for Seniors
As an older adult, transportation is vital to maintain an active lifestyle and socialize with your loved ones. Additionally, being able to travel without financial assistance encourages a sense of independence in you.
The good news is that many programs and service providers offer transportation for you at affordable and discounted prices, with some even providing free transportation for senior citizens. To save you time, we have listed some of those services below.
GoGoGrandparent is a good choice if you are looking for a transportation service that provides on-demand rides for seniors. With services active across all 50 states, this is a concierge service that provides elderly transportation by connecting you to other transport providers such as Uber or Lyft. You can order a ride using their online portal. Many users consider this service provider to offer reliable transportation for seniors.
GoGoGrandparent works in a membership model wherein users must pay about $9.99 monthly for a subscription package, but the price is subject to change.
For on-demand rides, you must pay the regular fare and an additional fee to access a reliable, punctual, and efficient concierge service. While this may seem a lot, GoGoGrandparents’ prices are comparatively lower than the general taxi rates you would pay otherwise.
The company is known for its efficient, seamless, high-quality service. Furthermore, their customer service is accessible round-the-clock throughout the week. All you have to do is use your phone to contact GoGoGrandparent’s toll-free number to find a ride to the location of your choice. The company screens each driver and ride. It also thoroughly verifies each driver before you sit inside your ride. In this way, GoGoGrandparent ensures that your journey is safe and convenient. Furthermore, you can schedule GoGoGrandparent rides through its smartphone app.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), people with disabilities have a civil right to a public transport service dedicated to their needs. This service is known as a complementary paratransit service.
Paratransit services help senior citizens and other high-priority individuals. If you are an older adult, you are entitled to these services. You can receive them through certified professional transportation agencies.
As per ADA regulations, paratransit services must be available within a 0.75-mile radius of any railway station or bus route. The main positive point of paratransit services is their reasonable fare. The ADA guidelines ensure that elders do not have to pay more than twice the regular fare for transportation from one point to another. For example, if a public bus charges $4 for a cross-town commute, the paratransit bus ride will not cost more than $8 for the same route. Furthermore, the discounted rates make paratransit rides a well-liked option among other elderly and disabled transportation services or programs.
Although paratransit services usually cater to people with disabilities, many senior citizens qualify for this service under the practical definition of disability. Paratransit services have several benefits to offer senior citizens. For example, if you cannot easily access conventional public transport for various reasons such as the crowd, the low frequency of vehicles, or noise pollution, paratransit services will help you reach your destination at a reasonable fare.
Another factor that makes paratransit services the best elderly and disabled transportation services is they make it easy to transport wheelchairs and other mobility aids. Most paratransit vehicles are accessible to people with physical disabilities. Also, they offer curb-to-curb service (when the driver picks up or drops you at the curb or roadside) within their transport routes. Besides being an alternative to public transport, paratransit services can also be used for medical appointment transportation for seniors.
However, despite all the advantages, paratransit services also have some shortcomings. Though it’s much appreciated that curb-to-curb service differs from door-to-door senior transportation services, it means that if you try to avail of these services, the operators will not enter your home to help you get off from your living room to the vehicle and vice versa. Therefore, someone must help you get to the vehicle from your home if you have mobility issues. Otherwise, you have to manage this alone..
SilverRide is an efficient service provider that offers a technology-driven digital platform for you to avail of regular rides and medical transportation (if you are eligible).
This company has a network of experienced drivers who provide low-cost and easily-accessible rides to passengers. SilverRide’s “mobility-as-a-service” platform targets people with mobility issues and senior citizens, making this option a perfect choice for hassle-free transportation for older adults.
SilverRide is very much similar to other transportation services, such as Uber. You can also use their rides to travel for medical appointments. The key distinction of this service is that it offers fully assisted rides for seniors with customization options to tailor it to their needs. The service aims to provide an enjoyable, secure, safe, and, above all, time-efficient ride. This way, SilverRide seeks to give you a feeling of riding with your family.
Unlike many transportation services, SilverRide offers door-to-door senior transportation, meaning that the company’s polite, punctual, and efficient drivers will accompany you right up to your destination. So, whether for periodic health checkups or picking up groceries from the market, SilverRide’s drivers will assist you and ensure you reach your location safely.
To use SilverRide’s services, you must schedule your rides through the company’s website. Alternatively, you can also use SilverRide’s mobile app, which is compatible with multiple devices and OS platforms.
The Volunteer Driver Program is a government initiative to connect volunteering drivers with individuals needing rides. Although this program (or family of programs) focuses on offering rides to older adults, some services cater to other groups, such as military veterans, people with mobility issues, and hospital patients. Typically very inexpensive, some volunteers even offer free rides and medical transportation for seniors.
Here’s how to find a ride by locating a volunteer driver near your current location. First, you can check out the map of volunteer transportation providers to see all the available drivers in each state across the country.
Each state may have its mechanism to connect older adults to voluntary drivers who offer transportation for seniors. In Massachusetts, for example, you can go to massridematch.org and select the “ride match” option to find all your transportation options, including volunteer driver programs. Another way to find volunteers in the state is by contacting your local Council on Aging to see if any volunteer driver program is available in your area. Alternatively, you can check whether any local NGO or other specific community-based organization provides volunteer-based programs. Some villages in this state provide transportation as part of volunteer services. You can also check out the MassOptions website and connect with your current area’s Aging Service Access Point to verify whether there is a volunteer driver program.
The Massachusetts government offers the resources and steps on its website for people looking to start their own volunteer driver programs to help provide transportation for seniors or build a customer base. These resources include a detailed toolkit that provides guidelines for starting and operating a volunteer driver program, its liability and insurance aspects, guidance to recruit and train volunteers, and other factors.
As mentioned earlier, volunteer programs are a family of programs. For example, certain local Councils on Aging (COAs) have programs that transport people with healthcare requirements and disabilities anywhere within a given area. For example, Millbury’s COA offers this benefit which covers the entire zone and surrounding towns. Similarly, Berkshire County offers Wheels for Wellness – a volunteer driver program that takes care of transportation needs for seniors to help them get safely to urgent medical appointments and other wellness-related destinations in the area.
Volunteer driver programs may offer you free transportation or charge a nominal fee. This might vary for different places. You can check out the government website or other sources to learn more about the voluntary driver program available in your area.
The Eldercare Locator is a government initiative designed to offer older individuals transportation services to help them get everywhere, from urgent medical appointments to grocery shopping. A public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging, you can access this program online.
Eldercare Locator helps you discover more information about transportation resources for seniors or help you contact AOAs (Agency on Aging) directly. To find out if your area has an AOA, contact an Eldercare customer service agent at 1-800-677-1116. Alternatively, you can visit their official website and enter the ZIP code or your state or city details in the search bar at the top.
ITNAmerica is a non-profit organization that offers rides if you are aged 60 and older. In some states, this age limit is set at 65. Apart from offering low-priced or, in some cases, free transportation for seniors, ITNAmerica also provides transportation for people with visual impairment. This service provider works based on a subscription model. In terms of fees, the company charges an annual subscription fee of about $50 to $60 for an individual and about $60 to $80 for families. Their affordable pricing helps you save a lot of money on transportation throughout the year. In addition, drivers under ITNAmerica offer round-the-clock service in their private vehicles. Additionally, they train drivers to offer door-to-door service to provide you with ultimate convenience while traveling.
As a part of the door-to-door service, drivers will help you carry grocery bags and offer help and assistance for getting in and out of the vehicle and getting safely inside your home or the destination you go to.
Arguably, the best aspect of ITNAmerica’s transportation for seniors service is how you make payments. After completing a ride, you do not need to pay the fare to your driver physically. Instead, when the ride is over, the payable amount is automatically debited from your ‘personal transportation account,’ a provision set up when you sign up for ITNAmerica’s services. This adds a layer of comfort to your ride and service.
Compared to standard taxi fares, the cost of ITNAmerica’s subscription is around half the fare. This alone, along with all the other benefits the program offers, makes it one of the best transportation options for older adults.
Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) is a program affiliated with Medicaid, the popular government initiative to safeguard the healthcare benefits of people, especially senior citizens. If you have an existing Medicaid benefit, you can also take advantage of NEMT.
This program assists you with travel for medical appointments. Apart from Medicaid, private insurance plans and certain Medicare Advantage plans also tend to cover non-emergency medical transportation. If you have an Advantage plan to your name, you can check with your insurance provider to see if you are eligible for this benefit.
Specific regulations regarding this transport can change from one state to another. For example, destinations covered, the modes of transport that are allowed, eligibility rules, types of health conditions in which free transportation will be permitted, and other factors mainly change when you travel from one state to another.
Additionally, elements such as Taxis, vehicles dispatched by community groups, specialty brokers, or wheelchair vans provide this transportation service. In some states, transportation network services such as Uber and Lyft also offer Medicaid-aiding rides to you at ultra-low costs or free of charge.
These transportation programs are in place to offer convenient, cost-effective, and, above all, safe rides for older adults as well as other individuals with mobility issues. While all these alternatives are equally effective, efficient, and affordable, you must research and select the option perfectly tailored to your specific needs and preferences to make the most of such initiatives.
- Transportation: What caregivers need to know. AARP. (2020, January 17). https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/home-care/info-2020/transportation-services.html
- Volunteer driver programs. National Center for Mobility Management. (n.d.). https://nationalcenterformobilitymanagement.org/by-topic/by-topic-volunteer-driver-programs/
- Eldercare locator. USAging. (n.d.). https://www.usaging.org/eldercareloc
- Find Your ITN Community. ITN America. (n.d.). https://www.itnamerica.org/find-your-itn
- Develop a volunteer driver program. Mass.gov. (n.d.). https://www.mass.gov/info-details/develop-a-volunteer-driver-program
- Volunteer driver programs. Mass.gov. (n.d.-b). https://www.mass.gov/service-details/volunteer-driver-programs
- Transportation. (n.d.). https://eldercare.acl.gov/Public/Resources/LearnMoreAbout/Transportation.aspx