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Life Without a Car: A Guide to Alternative Transportation Options

One of the principal factors in maintaining independence for older adults is the ability to drive a car. Yet, drivers 65 and older are 16% more likely to cause an accident compared to drivers 25-64. With age, health conditions may arise that affect vision, cognition, and movement, which can pose a higher risk while operating a vehicle. Even though some seniors may be healthy and capable enough to drive, the fragility of an older body is more susceptible to injury and fatality during a crash. Although it is common to resist giving up the independence of driving, there are alternative transportation options available that provide various perks.

By giving up driving, the cost of a car, car insurance, gas, and maintenance are eliminated. Using alternative forms of transportation instead of driving can save someone over $10,000 a year. In addition to saving money, not having a car allows for more exercise such as walking or biking. This provides an opportunity to feel more connected to the world and surroundings. Saving money, staying active, and being more connected to the community are healthy and safe ways to remain independent while using alternative transportation options.

Uber and Lyft:

Uber Ride-SharingUber and Lyft have become popular modes of transportation over the past five years because of convenience and reliability. Uber and Lyft work similarly to a cab. One can order a ride through these companies and have a driver arrive for a pickup within minutes. Uber and Lyft drivers and their cars must be certified to ensure the safety of the rider. Uber and Lyft rides are paid in advance through the app, which shows the driver’s information, so if an item is left in the car or the rider has a complaint, the contact information of the driver and the make and model of the vehicle are known. These companies also provide the option to schedule a ride in advance to ensure a ride will be available at a specific date and time.

Public Transportation:

Public transit subwayPublic transit agencies provide bus services along established routes with set schedules on a non-reservation basis. Reduced rate fares and additional transportation services are available for seniors and people with disabilities. For example, in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Metro Transit is the primary public transportation bus service. Metro Transit buses run Monday through Friday, 6-9 am and 3-6:30 pm. A single-use pass for seniors (ages 65+) costs $1.00 during non-rush hour and $2.50 during rush hour. There is an additional option to buy a Metropass, which includes unlimited access to all regional buses and trains for $83 per month. This type of arrangement is typically available in most metro areas of the U.S.

Paratransit Service:

Paratransit Service is available for those who are unable or have extreme difficulty using regular route transit service due to a disability or health condition. For example, this service provides transportation across the entire six-county region of Illinois, including Chicago, for ADA-certified people. Illinois also has a transportation service called Dial-a-Ride, which is a reserved, shared-ride, curb-to-curb bus service with a $2.00 fare per person throughout the suburbs.

Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Services:

AAC Medlink provides services in nationwide long-distance and non-emergency medical transportation to get patients to and from medical appointments. AAC Medlink has a team of drivers, patient care managers, and management staff. When someone from the medical staff picks up the patient, they are fully aware of any accommodations they may have. Patients may receive oxygen, a stretcher, or a walker. Transport coordinators are available 24/7 to schedule transportation for destinations more than 200 miles away.

Senior Care Services & Transport LLC:

Across the country, transportation services offer safe, reliable, and on-time transportation services for ambulatory, wheelchair, and stretcher clients. For example, in Michigan, Senior Care Services & Transport LLC provides the freedom to go anywhere, such as medical appointments, family events, sporting games, lunch dates, etc. This service has specially equipped handicapped vans that can seat up to 15 passengers to get you, loved ones, patients, or clients around with ease. You can call or email to receive a price quote and schedule reservations 24 to 48 hours in advance. 

Walking or Biking:

woman riding bikeMany senior living facilities have everything necessary within the community within walking distance from the grocery store, pharmacy, shopping centers, restaurants, etc. Within these communities, walking or biking are great options to get exercise, avoid transportation services, and feel connected within your community. Even if you may need transportation outside of the area from time to time, walking or biking within the area is a way to be independent and active.

With extensive alternative transportation options available, you can feel comfortable and independent without facing the risks and costs of driving yourself.

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