Transportation Options for Older People Who Don’t Drive
Last month, I wrote an article about Older Adults and Driving: Challenging Stereotypes (AgeWise King County, September 2022) and provided safety-focused resources for older people who are currently driving. This month, rather than focus on driving, I want you to know about the wealth of reduced-cost transportation services available for people who have stopped driving due to affordability or personal choice factors or who drive on only an occasional basis.
With recent inflation, high gas prices, and an increasing overall cost-of-living, many older people who live on fixed incomes find it challenging to stretch their budgets and meet important basic needs like getting to and from medical appointments, purchasing groceries, and engaging in community activities. I want you to be aware of cost-saving transportation programs, services, and resources available in your community. Several agencies in Seattle/King County provide free or low-cost transportation services and programs that decrease transportation expenses for older people.
Click on the image at right to see some of the primary transportation resources available here. This is not a comprehensive accounting of all available area resources; rather, it provides an overview of transportation programs and services that offer free, reduced, or more accessible options for older adults in our area. In addition to bus and light rail, see options for taxi fares and community shuttles.
If you are age 65 or older and don’t yet have a Regional Reduced Fare Permit ORCA card, applying for one is a great place to start! An ORCA card is a regional contactless, stored-value smart card system for public transit. It can be used on many types of public transit, including bus, light rail, commuter rail, streetcar, and water taxi.
Not included in this list at right are transportation services offered by local area senior centers and other community venues such as places of worship.
Whether you’re planning a transit trip that requires one form of transportation or several, you can get excellent information on FindARide. Click the link or call 425-943-6760 for assistance.
If you are unable to ride regular transit due to limited personal mobility, you can contact Metro Access Transportation to inquire about disability-supportive transportation options. Call 206-553-3000 or e-mail AccessibleServices@kingcounty.gov.
Finally, if you still need services and supports, Community Living Connections may be able to help (844-348-5464).
Contributor Gillian Duncan is an intern with Age Friendly Seattle. She is enrolled in The Ohio State University Master’s in Social Work program.
Once you can affordably get where you need to go, use your Age Friendly Seattle Gold Card for Healthy Aging for discounts at participating businesses and venues in the Seattle/King County area. A directory of participating businesses and venues, including Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle Aquarium, Seattle Animal Shelter, and many more can be found here. Need a Gold Card? If you are age 60+, apply online here.