With more and more senior citizens staying active far into their golden years, the question of where senior citizens can get free rides is one that comes up often.
Where can senior citizens get free rides? Senior citizens can get free rides from a number of sources. Local transportation authorities in jurisdictions around the nation, app platforms like Lyft, Dial-A-Ride, and many other programs and volunteer services offer free rides for senior citizens.
Many families who work or have busy lives often wonder where senior citizens can get free rides, so the seniors in their homes who no longer drive aren’t forced to sit at home all day. Here’s the information you need to track down where free rides are available.
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Senior Ride Free Program
Many local public transportation authorities around the nation offer free or reduced-fare rides for senior citizens. Your local public transit authority will be able to give you full details about specific programs offered in your area.
In some areas, public transit authorities will require senior citizens to obtain a special pass or identification card for free rides.
Proof required for these passes can include:
- Proof of age or disability
- Note from a doctor attesting that the senior no longer drives
- Proof of income
Senior free or discounted public transit ride programs aren’t just limited to major metropolitan areas like Dallas, New York, Minneapolis, or other large cities, either.
Many rural areas, such as Lower Colorado Valley Transit serving south-central Texas in the Lower Colorado River Valley offer free and reduced rides to senior citizens needing to go to the bank, doctor’s offices, and more.
In addition, grant-funded Meals on Wheels programs in many rural and urban areas also offer a variety of options for rides for seniors.
Most such programs can offer free rides for specific needs including:
- Trips to pharmacy
- Doctor visits
- Grocery shopping
Disabled seniors or seniors on programs such as SNAP (food stamps) or Section 8 or who live in public housing are often eligible for completely free rides.
Ride Services For Seniors
A number of commercial services such as Lyft and Uber offer free or reduced-fare rides for senior citizens. Check to make sure Lyft or Uber is available in your area.
Both services are nearly nationwide but have not rolled out into some rural areas yet.
Free Lyft Rides For Seniors
Lyft, the nationwide rideshare service has teamed up with a number of providers to offer both free and low-cost rides to senior citizens.
Seniors who have are receiving in-home care from agencies partnered with Care At Home are also eligible for free and reduced-price Lyft rides.
While the rides aren’t free, seniors without smartphones who use Jitterbug, the special cell phones designed just for seniors, can also simply dial “0” to schedule a lift ride through Great Call.
This service includes:
- Special coupon discount for the first ride
- No special apps required
- No smartphone required
- Drivers who have been subject to extensive background checks
AARP Uber Discount
While AARP doesn’t currently list Uber as among the hundreds of discounts currently offered to its members, Uber does offer Ride Pass to help seniors plan their day and budget the funds they have for Uber rides.
Additionally, Uber offers Uber Rewards to help seniors and other riders accumulate points.
Here is how Uber’s point system works:
- One point for every dollar spent on UberPool and UberEats
- Two points for every dollar spent on UberX, UberXL, Select, and WAV
- Three points for every dollar spent on UberBlack, Black SUV, and Uber Lux
Once you’ve accumulated points, you can earn:
- $5 Uber credit for every 500 points
- $5 for every 500 points amassed thereafter
- NO LIMIT on points accumulated
Other ride services for senior citizens include Lift Hero, a ride service separate from Uber and Lift.
Although only currently available in limited markets, Lift Hero is limited to use by senior citizens, so they take special care of seniors and have drivers ready to meet senior citizens’ needs like opening doors, assisting with walkers, etc.
For seniors who want to use Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare services and don’t have a smartphone but also don’t use the Jitterbug brand phone, don’t fear: any cell phone or landline can connect you with GoGoGrandparent.
GoGoGrandparent will connect you with rideshare services, taxis, and other forms of local, private for-fee transportation in your area at no additional charge, and without the use of a cumbersome app or smartphone. GoGoGrandparent is easy to use, and seniors need only to remember to press a few phone keys after registering:
- Press one to get a car to come to your home
- Press two to get a car to the last place you were dropped off at
- Press three, four, or five to get a custom location pickup
- Press six to use an operator (a real person) to order a ride
- Press zero to ask questions
Senior Transportation Solutions
There are a number of other transportation solutions for senior citizens as well. No matter where you are in the country, there are ways for seniors to get rides to most anyplace they need to go.
National Volunteer Transportation Center
The National Volunteer Transportation Center’s mission is to provide transportation solutions to those who need it, with emphasis on life-building and sustaining assistance, such as grocery shopping and medical visits, although their work is not limited to those areas.
With volunteer transportation groups in all 50 states (including Alaska and Hawaii), senior citizens will likely not be too far from a quick, free volunteer ride.
While the National Volunteer Transportation Center does not itself provide transportation to seniors or connect them with groups that do, it, along with the AlterNetWays foundation, one of its partners, runs AssistRides, which does help pair seniors with individual organizations made up of volunteer drivers.
There are several things to remember when using a volunteer ride service for seniors through AssistRides:
- If you have accessibility issues (wheelchair, walker, etc.) be sure to let them know
- Be sure that the operator has a clear understanding of your area and where you want to go to ensure both are in the service area
- Make sure you will have a ride back as many of these services operate limited hours
Dial A Ride For Seniors
Dial-A-Ride programs are often called “paratransit,” or “demand-response service” in many areas. Most paratransit and demand-response services are operated by the same transportation authorities that operate your local bus service.
However, dial-a-ride and paratransit services typically require you to meet certain criteria to be eligible for demand-response services, such as:
- A verifiable disability
- Difficulty walking that would delay boarding a normal bus
- Specific income levels
- Live alone or with another disabled family member
Requirements for paratransit, dial-a-ride, and demand-response vary widely from city to city, so don’t feel as though you may not be eligible if you don’t meet the criteria on this list.
Instead, call your local transit authority and inquire about their specific requirements.
Remember to do additional research and ask questions about any service you would like to use for yourself or a senior citizen in your care.
Make sure to check first with your local public transit authority about demand response service, and then about discounted rides for seniors before going with ride-share services, which may be more costly for seniors on a fixed income.
No matter where you are in the nation, from rural Wyoming to upstate New York, you should be able to find free or low-cost transportation for the senior citizens in your life to help keep them independent and active well into their golden years.