Many seniors will have heard of “Uber”, the ride-sharing system that invites riders to call up nearby transportation – provided by private drivers in their own cars – using an app on a smartphone. For seniors who are unable to drive or who have mobility issues, it can be a safe, efficient, and lower-cost option to the traditional taxi cab service.
But some seniors may not feel comfortable using app technology, and others may not own smartphones at all. With these people in mind, Uber has recently announced a new feature that allows existing Uber app users to request and pay for a ride for a loved one. The app allows the user to specify the name of the rider, a distant pickup location, and the desired destination. It then provides a link by text to track the driver’s route, and allows the driver to be contacted directly.
While such high-tech options can be appealing, naturally seniors still have many traditional modes of transportation to choose from as well.
For example, for low-income seniors in particular the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) has recently restored its No-Fare Bus Pass Program, effective July 1, 2017. As of that date, seniors and persons with disabilities who were enrolled in RIPTA’s Reduced Fare Bus Pass Program are entitled to travel for free, as are eligible new applicants. RIPTA will no longer charge Program participants even a reduced fare of 50 cents per boarding, and 25 cents per transfer, as had been the case. To be eligible to enroll, seniors (aged 65 or older) cannot have an annual income greater than 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
The No-Fare Bus Pass Program broadens the transportation options for about 13,000 vulnerable Rhode Island seniors and people with disabilities. For further information, and for information on the application process, see the RIPTA website announcement.