Senior Transportation: When You’re Just Too Cool for Carpool (with a little help from “Clueless”)

You scraped the car along the side of the curb or backed into the mailbox. Ugh, whatever. We’ve all been there. While little accidents happen, if they become everyday routines, it’s time to hand over the keys to someone else.

Modern Senior Magazine knows that giving up driving is hard to come to terms with. Not being able to drive feels like a loss of independence. As if! Even if you are no longer driving, you can stay active and independent without your own set of wheels. Don’t be a space cadet- before you hand over the keys, make sure you know your options for getting around town.

Rolling with the Homies

    • Family and friends. A friendly neighbor may love to take you into town for the afternoon. Coordinate your days with them, so you both can get your grocery shopping done. Don’t feel beholden to them for driving you. Your friends and family will understand your transition away from driving and are there to support you.
      So check it. We understand that it might be hard to ask for a ride from other people. Modern Senior Magazine  wants you to know that there are plenty of other options for the days you don’t feel comfortable asking for a ride.
    • Public transportation. Depending on where you live, you can walk to the corner of your street and catch a bus to downtown. Cities and towns have fast public transportation systems, with buses generally running every 15-30 minutes. Buses and undergrounds run throughout the day to popular spots. Transportation agencies offer discounted passes for seniors, making buses an affordable way to travel.
      Be aware that public transportation options will not offer any extra help with your bags. Plan ahead and consider taking a taxi if you need to make a lot of purchases. Taxis and cab services can be expensive. Save these for short distances or when you want to travel in style for a night out.

Door-to-Door, and More

What happens if you need more than a friend dropping you off at the doctors, or a bus ride to the library? You’re not “totally buggin”.  Volunteer services, paratransit buses, and door-to-door services offer flexible schedules and pick up locations.

    • Volunteer-run service shuttles. You’ve seen it in the movies. A van full of smiling community members are on their way out to a seaside town for a holiday. Driven by the pastor or a volunteer member, these outings look full of joy. If you are part of a church or community, check to see if they have a volunteer shuttle.
      These shuttles are a fantastic option if you’re looking to go around town and connect with your friends at the same time. The shuttle hours and locations will depend on who has volunteered that day. They are free or included in the cost of any membership dues.

On a tight schedule or going out of town? Hail a cab or take public transportation, as volunteer services don’t run outside of their schedule.

    • Paratransit buses. An option used by seniors with moderate to severe disabilities, these buses will allow you to arrange for a personalized pick-up and drop-off location. These usually require a membership pass, and are more expensive than buses. Paratransit buses offer additional door-to-door service for an extra fee.
    • Door-to-door transportation. Run by many different agencies, door-to-door (or door-through-door) service allows drivers to assist you in and out of your house and destination. Drivers help carry packages, shopping bags, groceries, and other heavy items.
      This option is best for someone who needs help with getting in and out of their home. This is a more expensive option, with fares determined by type of activity performed and duration of outing.

Never Have to Pay for Gas Again

Giving up the keys is never easy, but there is a silver lining to everything.

    • Save money. The money you save on gas and insurance can go towards a fun vacation. Instead of spending on car repairs, spend on a handyman to take care of the fix-its around the house. You’ll relax on the beach in bliss, knowing that your “classic” home columns from 1972 are finally updated.
    • Be friendly to the environment. After giving up the keys, you’ll sleep better at night knowing that you’re “greening” your life. By choosing not to drive anymore, you’re saving hundreds of pounds of carbon monoxide from going into the atmosphere.
    • Have fun with your extra time. Break in those purple clogs! When you’re on public transportation, enjoy a good book or crossword. While you’re relaxing on your way to errands, you can smile knowing that you don’t have to be stuck in traffic again.

Whatever choice you go with, remember that you have options. Don’t feel stuck with limited transportation choices. If something’s not working, say “I’m Audi” to it and revisit your options.

The loss of driving won’t limit your mobility. Instead, you’ll gain freedom to travel as far as you want while relaxing the whole time. How fabulous! Take that, rush hour traffic.

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