By Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) – Area Agency on Aging
Transportation for seniors and individuals with disabilities
Don’t drive? Let Empowerline help you explore ways to get there. It’s common for many people to outlive their ability to drive or to seek alternate transportation options based on their abilities. But what if the bus line doesn’t go past the senior center? What if it’s too expensive to take a taxi to the grocery store? What if you’re not sure whether public transportation can get you to the doctor’s office in time for your appointment?
Whether you’re going about your daily routine or looking for opportunities to engage in your community, there are a number of roads to get you there. Read on to learn about the various transportation options. Or, if you know what you’re looking for, you can search for transportation options in our database.
What are my transportation options as an older person or an individual with a disability?
There are many organizations in Georgia that transport older persons and individuals with disabilities to everyday destinations for little or no charge. Ride options include…
⎼ Round-trip from your home to your destination
⎼ Shuttles that follow a regular route to needed community places
⎼ Group trips to social and cultural activities
Riders can expect to travel in vans or buses, subway trains, volunteers’ personal vehicles, rideshare vehicles, or private shuttle services.
Let’s take a closer look at metro Atlanta’s transportation options for older persons and individuals with disabilities.
Specialized transportation services for senior citizen transport
Specialized Transportation services are popular with active seniors, especially those enrolled in community programs (such as senior centers, senior group lunches, volunteering, and adult day services). Most specialized transportation services provide free and low-cost rides to community program meetings and events. Many services offer on-demand or scheduled transport to medical appointments, shopping centers, and senior centers—some even sponsor group trips to recreational areas and special events. It is important to note that most specialized transportation requires you to be registered in a community program and often there are service limits.
For eligible Medicaid recipients, there are specialized transportation services to medical appointments available. For more information or to book a ride, you can look into ModivCare or Southeastrans.
Public Transit—Including Paratransit & MARTA mobility
Public Transit can also be a convenient and cost-effective method for commuters of all ages and abilities. Depending on your location and abilities, you can choose between buses, ADA compliant paratransit options (including MARTA mobility), MARTA trains, or the Atlanta streetcar to get to your destinations. All public transit services follow regular route-schedules and most are accessible to individuals with disabilities. In the Greater Atlanta region, your transport options include: MARTA (serves Fulton County, DeKalb County, and Clayton County), Cobb County Transit, Gwinnett County Transit, Cherokee County Transit, and the Atlanta Streetcar.
Transportation vouchers—free and low-cost senior citizen transport
Transportation vouchers are great options for older adults and persons with disabilities that have low-incomes or are otherwise unable to use public transit. Participating transportation providers use the vouchers for ride payment. Additionally, most voucher programs offer arm-through-arm and door-to-door assistance—as well as the option to hand-pick your pre-vetted driver. While these programs vary from county to county, you can find yours by conducting an internet search for your county and the phrase “transportation voucher program.” Or, if you need assistance finding a voucher program in your area, contact Empowerline. Many transportation voucher programs have financial, physical, or geographic eligibility criteria.
Not feeling comfortable organizing transportation yet?
In the Atlanta region, there are travel training programs for older adults and persons with disabilities. With programs like MARTA Travel Training Program and training from our partners at disAbility Link , you can discover the information and gain the confidence you need to access transportation options our region.
Booking a ride for the first time?
There are some questions you may want to ask…
⎼ What transportation choices are available?
⎼ What are the costs?
⎼ How is payment handled?
⎼ Is fare assistance available?
⎼ Are there age or income requirements? Is there an application?
⎼ What is the service area?
⎼ How far in advance do I need to schedule a ride?
⎼ Is there evening and weekend service?
⎼ Are there restrictions on the purpose of the ride?
⎼ Can a companion travel too?
⎼ Is it a shared ride? If so, how long can I expect to be in the vehicle?
⎼ What is the pick-up window time frame?
⎼ Are there any additional costs, such as going over a certain number of miles, waiting while I shop, or assisting with bags?
Volunteer senior citizen transport
Volunteer Driver Programs work well for older adults and individuals with disabilities who prefer door-to-door driver service. Run by local organizations and powered by volunteer drivers, these programs deliver you to medical appointments and daily errands safely and with ease. Metro Atlanta residents have several volunteer driver programs to choose from—such as Lifespan, I CARE (which serves DeKalb County), and the American Cancer Society Road to Recovery (for cancer-specific transportation needs).
Which solution is best for me?
With the proper research, you can be on the road in no time! Solutions exist for every budget, schedule, and ability. We’re here to help you find them.
If you need more help, contact one of our trained Empowerline counselors who will listen to your transportation needs and advise you on how to best meet them. The horizon is waiting! Chart your course today.
This information is brought to you by a RRF Foundation on Aging grant received by the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians and the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) – Agency on Aging.