Alternatives to driving

Look at your needs

Each person’s transportation needs are different. Consider:

# Where do you generally want to go (e.g., appointments, shopping, social engagements)?
# How often do you need rides?
# At what time(s) do you generally need rides?
# How much can you afford/are willing to pay to get from place to place?
# Do you have any special needs regarding the transportation? (E.g., Do you use a wheelchair or walker? Do you need help right from your couch to a chair at your end destination?)

Then look at your options

Family and friends – You may know people who can help you get from place to place. The price is right and it could be a very convenient way to get around.

Public transportation – For some, public transportation may be an alternative. Is there a bus stop near your home? There’s a seniors’ fare discount for those 65 and older and a bus pass program for low-income seniors. Many buses are now wheelchair accessible. Persons with physical or cognitive disabilities who are unable to use public transit without assistance are eligible to use HandyDART. Find out what’s available in your community.  Again, the price is right, but its availability and convenience will depend on where you live and when and where you are going.

Taxis – Convenient, but expensive. However, if you have a BC Transit handyPass or TransLink handyCard, the taxi-saver program provides a 50 % subsidy.

Special transportation services – Private, individualized, special transportation and accompaniment services are available in some communities. Here is an example of one such service that operates in BC. Service is very convenient, available at any time, but more expensive than other options. Please note that this link is provided as a convenience and does not consitute a recommendation or endorsement.

Walking – Want to stay fit and go green? Do you live close to shopping, appointments, and other places you want to get to? Walking is a great way to keep fit and healthy. Check first with your doctor if you aren’t used to walking those distances. You can’t argue with the price.

Community/Senior’s Centres – Many centres have pick-up transport services run by local volunteers. Some have planned outings with transportation included. Find out if there’s a seniors' centre near you or contact your local community centre. Transportation costs are usually very reasonable but the services are not individualized (e.g., they may not be available on demand)..

Your own car – Just because you retire from driving doesn’t mean you have to sell your car. You might want to keep it so that it’s there for others to drive you wherever you need to get to. If you have a disability, you may be eligible for a special parking permit for people with disabilities.

Deliveries and online shopping – Many grocery and other kinds of stores will deliver to you free of charge or for a small fee. Today, “catalogue” shopping has become easier with the arrival of internet shopping. It doesn’t get you where you want to go, but may help you acquire the things you need. Delivery charges are usually very reasonable.

Other alternatives – Other options exist in some communities. For example, there may be transportation alternatives that will take you to and from medical appointments. Some municipalities have instituted special transportation programs.

How can I find out more?

  • Refer to your copy of the BC Senior’s Guide. It is also available online. The Directory of Services for Seniors in the guide may be particularly useful for helping you find services in your community.
  • The BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation is working with several governmental, community and social agencies to explore other senior-friendly transportation options.  Find out more.