Navigating Public Transportation as a Senior

Elderly man in public transport

In This Article

Discovering transport options that are both safe and welcoming opens the door to endless adventures, be it a gentle stroll in the park, a dash to the market, or a timely visit to the doctor. It’s these journeys that keep us active and engaged within our communities, ensuring we’re always part of the bustling world around us. It also gives senior travelers a sense of independence.

Travel for seniors is not just about reaching a destination but doing so with utmost care. Fortunately, there are specialized services designed with seniors in mind, offering features like lower steps, priority seating, and personalized assistance. These touches make all the difference, providing peace of mind and a sense of security that encourages seniors to travel freely and safely.

Whether you’re hankering for a senior solo travel adventure or are interested in getting brunch with some old pals, we present the best transport options for seniors.

Safe and Accessible Transport Options for the Elderly

stickers of places for a disabled person and elderly on body of small shuttle bus


Buses stand as a dependable way for seniors to get around, especially in bustling areas brimming with public transportation options. They stick to specific routes and timetables, making navigating the city a breeze for our older friends.

Plus, there’s often a nice bonus: discounts for seniors and individuals with disabilities, sweetening the deal!

Buses come equipped with features aimed at making travel easier for everyone, such as priority seating and ramps. Laws ensure that public buses are accessible for seniors and individuals with disabilities.

According to the Department of Transportation, buses must have features like ramps or lifts to accommodate wheelchairs, ensuring everyone can board and alight with ease. However, for those who rely heavily on walkers or wheelchairs, hopping on and off might require a bit of extra effort.


Paratransit is like a travel service tailored for those who find regular buses and trains a bit tricky to use, perfectly in line with the thoughtful guidelines of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

It’s a boon for seniors, offering a ride right from your doorstep to wherever you need to go, making getting around a breeze. Plus, it’s friendly on the wallet because if you need someone to come along for the ride, like a personal care attendant, they can hop on for free.

ADA complementary paratransit, must be available for people with disabilities who find it hard to use regular buses and trains. Here’s who can get this service:

  • Someone who can’t use the transit system without help. This includes people with certain disabilities who can’t get on, ride, or get off a vehicle by themselves. For example, someone with a vision or cognitive disability who can’t find their way around the bus system alone.
  • Someone who needs a vehicle with special features, like a wheelchair lift, but none is available. This is for people who could use buses and trains if they were accessible but sometimes they aren’t, like when a bus doesn’t have a working lift.
  • Someone who can’t get to or from the bus or train stop because of their disability. This could be because there are no sidewalks, or they can’t handle extreme temperatures, or they find it too difficult to cross busy streets due to their disability.

Now, it does require a bit of planning since you’ll need to book your rides ahead of time. But weigh that against the ease and comfort of getting from point A to point B without a hassle, and it’s a small price to pay. With paratransit, every outing is smooth sailing, letting seniors keep up with their active, adventurous lives without missing a beat.


For seniors who are fairly mobile and don’t depend much on walking aids, taxis offer a convenient way to zip around town.

They’re great for straightforward trips from one place to another. However, it’s worth remembering that taxi drivers might not have special training in assisting seniors, particularly when it comes to getting in and out of the cab or navigating public spaces. Plus, the cost can add up, potentially being ten times more than what you’d pay for a bus ride or paratransit service.

Despite this, taxis still provide a valuable option for seniors looking to enjoy a day out at the park, complete some errands, or catch up with friends. They offer flexibility and privacy, making them a viable choice for those quick, necessary trips.

Rail Services

Rail services offer seniors a swift and efficient way to navigate the city, bypassing the hassle of traffic jams. It’s a smooth ride, straight to your destination, making it a favorite for those looking to move quickly through the metro area. Yet, for those managing joint pain or dealing with the discomfort of swollen feet, the walk to and from rail platforms might pose a challenge.

The real perk? A generous 10% discount for senior citizens sweetens the deal, making rail travel not only convenient but also more affordable.

With the trains running like clockwork, it’s simple to sync your day’s agenda with their dependable timetable. So, despite the extra steps, the blend of reliability, punctuality, and a thoughtful senior discount makes rail travel an attractive option

Alternatives to Public Transportation for Seniors

old senior businessman wear suit wating for train while reading news from paper or tablet he is standing on train station paltform daytime transportation

Community Scheduled Transportation

The finest senior living communities understand the importance of mobility and independence, offering scheduled transportation as part of their concierge services. Planning a day out is as simple as a chat with your care manager, turning a trip into a delightful outing, especially when shared with friends.

Within these vibrant communities, top-notch amenities are just a stone’s throw away, often eliminating the need for transport. For those with special meet-ups with loved ones or essential appointments, this personalized transport service shines as the epitome of comfort and safety. With just one point of contact, every journey is tailored to your needs, ensuring a seamless experience no matter your mobility concerns or health considerations.

Non-emergency medical transportation

Non-emergency medical transportation services are a thoughtful provision for seniors needing a ride to the hospital or clinic for routine health matters, be it a regular check-up or a dental appointment. It’s typically included as a benefit in Medicaid and certain private insurance plans.

Some offer specially equipped vehicles designed to ensure a comfortable and safe journey for seniors, including those with mobility challenges. Others might collaborate with ridesharing services.

Volunteer Assisted Transportation

Volunteer transportation programs are community gems, where kind-hearted volunteers join local volunteer transportation programs to offer their time and vehicles to help seniors get around. These programs are perfect for older adults who need a lift to the grocery store, medical appointments, or social events but don’t have easy access to transport.

Seniors simply need to sign up with the program, usually through a community center or a nonprofit organization, and schedule their rides in advance.

Ridesharing Services

Ridesharing services, like Uber and Lyft, offer seniors a convenient way to travel, with just a few taps on a smartphone. These services provide on-demand rides, making them a flexible option for spontaneous or planned outings. For seniors with disabilities, many ridesharing companies have begun to introduce vehicles with accessibility features, though availability can vary by location.

The pros include ease of use, quick service, and the ability to track your ride and driver for added safety. However, the reliance on smartphone technology can be a barrier for some seniors less comfortable with digital devices. Additionally, the cost can fluctuate based on demand, which might be higher than traditional transport options.

Travel Safety Tips for Seniors

different passengers in the subway car

For seniors navigating public transportation, safety is paramount. And there are a few more considerations when traveling with those over 60.

Here, we talk about safety travel tips for seniors using public transportation.

1. Plan your route in advance

Before you head out, make sure you know your route and the schedule. Many public transportation systems have websites or hotlines where you can get this information. This preparation can help you avoid long waits and ensure you board the correct service.

2. Stay aware of your surroundings

While waiting for and riding on public transportation, keep your belongings secure and stay alert. Avoid distractions like using your phone without paying attention to your environment, especially at stops and stations.

3. Use priority seating

Look for designated priority seating areas meant for seniors and those with disabilities. These seats are usually closer to doors, making it easier to board and exit the vehicle.

4. Ask for assistance if needed

Don’t hesitate to ask for help from transportation staff or fellow passengers if you need assistance boarding, finding a seat, or understanding transit directions. Most people are more than willing to help.

5. Keep emergency contact information handy

Carry a list of emergency contacts and any important medical information with you. In case you need assistance or feel unwell, having this information readily available can be very helpful for you and others!

Making Travel Safe, Easy, and Accessible for Seniors At 12 Oaks Communities

At 12 Oaks Communities, we understand the importance of making life’s essentials, such as transportation, not just accessible but a breeze to use.

That’s why our concierge service thoughtfully schedules transportation for our residents, ensuring they can explore the metro with both safety and confidence. We believe that safety isn’t just a priority; it’s a promise we make to ensure every journey is as enjoyable as it is secure.

Curious about the transportation options tailored for seniors, or have any safety and accessibility queries? We’re here to help. Reach out to us and discover the ease and security 12 Oaks offers.

At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while leading fulfilling lives. 12 Oaks Senior Living Communities are an ideal place to enjoy the encore season of life.

For questions or to schedule a personalized tour, don’t hesitate to contact us.


Searching for senior living help? At 12 Oaks Senior Living Communities, we would love to learn more about your unique needs and the opportunity we may have to help you meet them. Our blog is one of the valuable resources we provide to inform and encourage seniors to lead fulfilling and thriving lives. Contact us today to schedule a visit.


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