Just like any other person, seniors and the disabled need to travel from one location to another due to a number of purposes. From shopping for home necessities to making doctor’s appointments, there are many reasons why seniors might need to travel from one place to another. Besides this, they also need to attend social events and bond with their loved ones. All these endeavors need one to have a good means of transport so that he or she can travel more conveniently.
However, this is not always the case as one-half of Americans who are 65 years and above cannot access public transport. In fact, those who cannot drive themselves have to remain at home since they are short of transport options. Seniors residing in rural areas are greatly affected as transport options are very limited. The good news is that there are transport programs to ensure these seniors are able to travel from one location to another more conveniently. In this article, we shall take a closer look at these programs and other facets so that you can know them better.
Should the Seniors Stop Driving?
Although there are some seniors who prefer to drive themselves to various destinations, it is advisable that they should stop be driven due to a number of reasons. This is because some seniors are too visually impaired to continue driving. Remember that your vision plays a key role when one is driving. To put it into perspective, it provides about 85% of the information one needs so as to drive safely.
Since most seniors usually have issues with their vision, they need about 10 times as much light as a 19-year-old driver would need in order to drive at night. When it comes to glare, a person who is 55 years usually takes longer to recover than a driver who is 16 years old. Also, senior drivers usually take a long to distinguish the flash of brakes as opposed to young drivers. Due to these reasons, it is important that they seek transportation services in order to avoid accidents and inconveniences in the future.
How Much Should Seniors Pay For Transportation Assistance?
The cost of transportation for the elderly varies from one transportation service provider to another. For instance, Public Para-Transit Services usually charge twice as much as public transportation charges. If a bus usually charges $2 to travel from one city to another, the above-mentioned transport service provider charges $4 for all its clients. However, unlike other transport service providers, this one is only permitted to charge a maximum of $4. Other Volunteer Driver programs might charge up to a tune of $10 per ride.
Finally, there are others who offer these services free of charge. Therefore, such service providers can help you save a few bucks. However, if you choose private transport services, be ready to dig deeper into your pocket.
Can I Get Senior/ Disabled Discounts For Using Public Transit Services?
Yes. As we speak, most cities offer senior and disabled discounts in one way or another. However, you have to register for a specific program for you to enjoy these discounts. Better still, you can apply for a special senior train or bus pass, and you will be good to go. In fact, cities such as Chicago hardly charge senior bus fares.
Here, they are able to travel from one location to another free of charge. All you need to do is to research your city and check if there are any discounts offered to seniors or not. After that, you will be able to plan your budget appropriately.
Can Ride Sharing Help You Save On Your Transport Costs?
Yes. Ride sharing has proved to be effective for seniors who want to reduce their transport costs. The good news is that apps such as Lyft and Uber allow ride sharing. This way, passengers can save a few dollars on their transportation costs. Here, the car will carry multiple people at the same time and then drop them at different destinations, thus reducing the fare for all of them significantly.
What Are The Different Transportation Options For The Elderly?
Since seniors find it challenging to drive themselves from one destination to another, there is a need for them to seek alternative means of personal transportation. After all, they will be able to travel more conveniently and arrive safely at their various destinations. Some of the options that have proved effective include the following:
1. Medicaid Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT)
As we speak, Medicaid usually offers non-emergency transportation to seniors out there. However, beneficiaries of these services must qualify for NEMT services. For you to become eligible for this service, you should fulfill the following:
- Be eligible for Medicaid
- You should not possess a working vehicle at home
- You should not have a valid driver’s license
- The senior should be unable to travel on his or her own
- The senior should have a cognitive, physical, developmental, or mental problem.
Remember that this service offers much-needed transportation services to and from the hospital or clinic. Therefore, if you need to visit your doctor, this service is there for you.
2. Public transport
Besides the above-mentioned transport service, seniors can now use public transport and still get to their desired destination more conveniently. In fact, public transport has proved to be a cost-effective way of traveling from one city to another. When it comes to public transport, most people usually prefer metro and bus routes.
Besides low fares, this transport option is very reliable when it comes to these routes. However, you have to reside near the city route for you to enjoy this service conveniently. Otherwise, you have to walk to your nearest bus stop for you to board a bus and travel to your desired destination.
It is important to note that not all mass transit options are ideal for seniors living with disabilities. For instance, those seniors who have to use wheelchair ramps in order to move need special means of transport. If you have such kind of disabilities, you should visit your city’s government website and see the type of buses that are ideal to board. Better still, you can contact your local transit authorities for more information.
3. Volunteer Driving programs
As we speak, there are organizations such as churches, community centers, and non-profit organizations that offer much-needed volunteer driving programs to seniors across the country. Here, the seniors are usually driven by individual volunteers to and from hospitals, clinics, or any other errands. The good news is that the drivers who offer these services are well-trained and have been vetted well in the past. As a result, you can trust that you will get quality results at the end of the day.
Since the volunteer time is limited, you have to schedule rides early enough so that you are not left out. This means that sometimes, you might not have your ride when you want it, as the volunteer driver might not always be there to offer these services to you.
If you need these services, you should contact your nearest community center or church. In case you have accessibility issues, you should ensure that you substantiate them upfront. Remember that some organizations allow you to be driven in your own car. However, there are some organizations that have their own vans that offer much-needed transportation services. It all depends on the organization you contact out there.
4. Taxi services
If you live in a rural or a suburban area, the above-mentioned transport option is ideal for you. Unlike the mass transit solution you find in most places, this one is more convenient as you can travel alone in a personal car. In case you need taxi services, you just need to contact the driver and direct him or her to your residence. After that, the driver will drive you to your desired destination.
Besides this, the option mentioned above is more convenient as your items can be carried seamlessly from one location to another. In case you have a cane or a walker, it will be carried too and thus offer the much-needed convenience. However, you have to brace yourself for the cost that comes with these services. Since they are more convenient than other means of transport, you have to dig deeper into your pocket.
As we speak, you can find taxi services using Google search online. You just need to turn the Google Location feature on and then search for these services. Chances are that you will find browsing listing online that allows you to review nearly every taxi service you will find online. Here, you can check their charges and check their accessibility options.
You can also download several taxi apps and see the services offered by each app. If you have a smartphone, you can visit Google Play Store or eve iOS App Store and download these apps conveniently.
5. Paratransit services
To start with, you will realize that the Americans with Disabilities Act, commonly known as ADA, states that any city that would like to provide transport service should also ensure that there is a system that can accommodate people living with disabilities. Such services are commonly known as Para-Transit Services.
The program comes with a number of benefits;
Unlike other transport options, individuals here will be able to travel more comfortably as they will be able to utilize wheel-chair accessible vans. In case your senior needs these services, you should not hesitate to check the availability of ADA paratransit services in your locality. Remember that these services can either be operated both publicly and privately. The good news is that these services supplement the bus or the train that plies within your locality.
Another benefit is that unlike other means of transport, the vans and microbuses that offer these services usually have ADA facilities. Besides this, these buses typically ply within ¾ mile of the existing train or bus station. Furthermore, this service is generally curb-to-curb. Here, riders have to get from their homes and go to the nearest cub pick-up point.
Also, they will be dropped at this location and later find their way home. Therefore, disabled people have to be accompanied by a non –disabled person so that he or she can get to the curb pick-up point seamlessly and on time. The good news is that drivers who offer Para-Transit transport services usually help riders to get in and out of the vans when necessary.
The above-mentioned transport option is relatively cheap as riders can only be charged twice the fares charged by ordinary public transport systems such as the buses that ply within the same route. Besides this, there is some flexibility when it comes to pick-up time as some riders might be late by a few minutes. However, it is unheard of where riders had to wait for more than 30 minutes for them to board their vans of choice. This means that seniors can still travel comfortably even during the colder months.
- Request their certification form and complete it. To request, call them on 214-515-PARA (7272 or select this link dart.org/paratransit/paratransiteligibilityapplication2015.pdf
- Get your written disability verification and attach to the form. dart.org/paratransit/physicianverificationform2015.pdf
- Submit both of them to paratransit services. Note that you can also fill the form online and submit as an email attachment.
- You will get an in person eligibly assessment from transit officials.
- Wait for approval and benefit from the program.
6. Supplemental Transportation Programs for seniors (STPs)
As we speak, there are some organizations that operate Supplemental Transportation Programs for Senior in both metro and urban areas. Unlike other transport services, these ones are known for being affordable and community-based. Besides this, these programs are funded independently through grants and donations. However, this transport option is normally organized by religious institutions and even community groups and comes with a number of benefits
Most people who offer transport services here are volunteers. Since these programs are well-funded, beneficiaries are not overcharged to enjoy these services. They are one of the most cost-effective ways seniors can travel from one location to another.
It is imperative to note that riders here are bound to enjoy door-to-door rides. Besides this, they can arrange to have a driver to stay with until they are done with the day’s activities in town. Thereafter, they will be driven to their homes.
To join the program, you should fill an application form, attach eligibility prove, wait for assessment, and get approved.
The above-mentioned transport option is very popular among most travelers with several benefits. You will note that they offer on-demand ride services to all their clients. Anytime you need transportation services, you just need to request a ride, and a car will be at your doorstep within minutes.
If the senior is very conversant with smartphone apps, he or she can request a ride, and a car will come to his or her location promptly. However, this service is ideal for seniors who can get in and out of the car hassle-free. Compared to taxi services, this one is more budget-friendly.
All that a senior needs to join is; download the Lyft app on his or her device and then use the app to book a ride. When it comes to payment, the senior will be able to pay automatically using his or her credit card at the end of the ride.
Veyo usually partners with insurance companies and other health facilities in order to offer the much-needed non-emergency transportation covered by the individual’s insurance coverage. This transportation service is ideal for seniors who need to visit their doctors every now and then.
Also, seniors with disabilities can readily enjoy these services as there are special vehicles that can accommodate stretchers or wheelchairs. If your insurance company of choice offers Veyo as a transportation benefit, be sure that you will not be charged any penny.
For you to join this transport service; you should first ask your older adult’s insurance company about the available benefits offered by the company. If you get a nod, be sure that they will help you know the scheduled rides among other finer details of this transport service.
Besides this, it is important to note that caregivers and seniors cannot sign up for the service or even arrange rides. Instead, only their respective health organization partners are eligible to arrange rides for them.
9. The Independent Transport Network America (ITNAmerica)
To start with, the ITNAmerica transportation option is a non-profit organization that enables seniors who are 60 years and above to travel from one location to another. The disabled can also enjoy these services. However, this program comes with a fee where members are required to pay an annual membership of approximately $50 to $60 for a single person.
However, if you want to travel as a family, you should be ready to part with $60 to $80.The good news is that clients will always get rides anytime they please. In fact, drivers here offer door-to-door services.
Whether you have bags or other items that you want to carry for you, the drivers will ensure that they travel safely to your desired destination. Generally, the rates charged for transportation service is affordable. However, the pricing will depend on your local affiliate.
FAQs – Frequently Ask Questions
What should you check when assessing a transportation provider?
Since there are any transportation providers such as the ones mentioned above, there is a need for you to scrutinize each one of them so that you can get the desired results. Here are the questions that you should ask:
- What are the requirements does one need to meet in order to enjoy the service?
- Are the rides suitable for people with disabilities?
- Am I allowed to be accompanied by one of my family members to my desired destination? Will I incur extra charges?
- Does the service offer door-to-door service or not?
- Will the assigned driver assist with wheelchairs, bags, and so forth?
- Are the rides available even during the weekends?
- How much will I pay per ride?
- How are the ride fees calculated?
- Does the service come with a membership fee?
- Will I get any form of discount?
- Will my insurance pay for any of these rides?
Does Insurance offer transport services to seniors?
Well, this depends on your insurance provider. If your health coverage covers transport expenses for medical purposes, then your insurance company of choice will offer these services to you. To put it into perspective, a van or a car, or any other vehicle will pick you at your home and take you to your desired destination. However, you might be limited to the number of trips that you can take in a given month. For more information, you should contact your insurance provider for more details.
How can I find transport options?
If you are looking for a transport option so that you can travel from one location to another, there are many ways that can help you get started. To start with, you can contact your family and friends to help you out. If they are not in a position, consider elder care and social service agencies within your locality.
Better still, look for caregiver support programs within where you live and you will get helped. By doing a little exploration in your community, you will get an option that suits your needs. Eldercare Locator too can direct you to the nearest Area Agency on Aging near you. For you to access Eldercare Locator, you can visit the website directly or better still, contact a representative on 800-677-1116.
How can I become eligible for assisted transportation?
You will realize that the eligibility requirements for this kind of transportation service will depend on a particular type of assisted transportation service. This is because some transportation services are ideal for the blind, while others are ideal for those who are handicapped and so on. Therefore, your disability will determine if you are eligible for this assistance or not.
Besides this, the purpose of traveling plays a critical role when it comes to the eligibility of this assistance. This is because some programs usually offer emergency services while others usually offer non-emergency services. On the other hand, some programs offer transport services for shopping, social visits, and other errands. Finally, you have to be registered with the service before being allowed to use it.
Whether they want to seek a medical appointment or want to attend an event, there are many reasons why seniors might have to travel now and then. Since driving might be a challenge to many, there is a need for them to consider the above-mentioned transportation options. The good news is that they are budget-friendly and are even ideal for people with disabilities. Consider them today, and you will travel more conveniently.