How to Find Free Rides for Seniors Who Live at How to Find Free Rides for Seniors Who Live at HomeHome

When your parents don’t drive and you can’t drive them around, services that offer free rides for seniors can be a huge help. Your folks get to maintain their social lives, run errands, and visit their doctors. You get to reduce your stress. Everyone saves money. Here’s how to find out what’s available near you.

Is public transit free for seniors? It depends on where you live

In most North American cities, seniors can use public transit for a reduced fare, but some places offer free fares. For example, in seniors in Philadelphia and surrounding areas can show their ID to ride free on SEPTA buses, subways, trolleys, and the Norristown High Speed commuter rail line. Other cities offer free fares, but the qualifying process is more complex. One example is Chicago, which offers a free-ride program for seniors who participate in the Illinois Benefits Access program and who apply for an RTA Ride Free permit. If your parents live in an area with good public transportation, it’s worth checking to see if they can ride free.

How to find free rides with the National Volunteer Transportation Center

Five regional transportation groups founded the National Volunteer Transportation Center in 2014 to connect local volunteer groups with seniors and others who need rides in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The group’s site lists volunteer services by state and city. To get started, click the Find a Program tab at the top of the NVTC home page.

Next, you can select your parents’ state from the left column or click on the car icon on their map state. That will show you a list of all the volunteer programs in their home state. For example, in Texas, the NVTC site lists 12 volunteer ride groups operating in 9 cities and towns.

To get in touch with the group or groups in your parents’ town, click on the website link provided. This will take you away from the NVTC site to the volunteer group’s homepage, where you can learn about the neighborhoods the group serves, how to make reservations, and more. For example, if your folks live in North Richland Hills near Dallas, you can click on the Social Transportation for Seniors link to learn that this group serves seniors age 62 and up in the 76180 and 76182 zip codes with rides to shopping, salons, and social events between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:00 pm on weekdays. In the next suburb over, Hurst’s Mid-Cities Care Corps offers free rides in an 11-community area for adults age 65 and up, and rides must be booked at least 2 weeks in advance.

As you can see, each local volunteer free-ride service is unique. Be sure you understand the requirements for the group nearest your parents, especially how far in advance to request a ride, to avoid confusion and missed appointments. It’s also a good idea to find out if the volunteer driver will stay with your parents or wait nearby while they complete their appointments and errands. You can find more resources for independent living and in-home care at SeniorAdvisor.com.

Casey Kelly-Barton is an Austin-based freelance writer whose childhood was made awesome by her grandmothers, great-grandmother, great-aunts and -uncles, and their friends.

4 Comments

  1. Holly Springs-McMurray February 13, 2017 Reply

    Riding can be a problem for seniors, especially those who are facing health problems in their daily lives. Most seniors do not travel without a driver or a family member. But, there will be times that the dedicated driver may not be available due to other circumstances. It’s very important to have other options for transportation because of cases like these. Some senior living and assisted living facilities offer this service for its residents.

  2. Benny Moreno October 27, 2018 Reply

    Looking for help my dad get rides to his dialysis in Irving Texas on Mondays,Wednesday,and Fridays…what can we do to get him help To get there and back home.?

  3. Earl Leo lorentz June 16, 2019 Reply

    Need cataract eye surgery and won’t be able to drive there and back for two visits…I’m 76 yrs. old and have nobody available to help me….I’m on a fixed income and money is used for monthly bills and food????

  4. Lynda Brimson October 8, 2019 Reply

    My husband is 73
    Very need of all his appts
    But something always comes up that they get cancelled
    Love to find someone personal that could take him to and from the appts
    Thank You

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