5 Public Transportation Tips for Seniors

Jul 19, 2017

5 Public Transportation Tips for Seniors

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Despite many people feeling that public transportation is something that is difficult to take full advantage of, this isn’t always the case! Towns and cities with higher populations make it easier for senior citizens to utilize the various methods of public transportation, however, there are definitely things to consider when getting from point A to B.

Whether you’re at home or even traveling about, public transportation can be a very convenient, cheap, and an environmentally friendly option for seniors to get around. However, many areas of the country still lack well-established public transportation services, making it difficult for nearly 15.5 million Americans 65 and older to find methods of transportation. For those who do have access, there are ways you can ensure you or a loved one is taking full advantage of public transportation both safely and efficiently!

Public Transportation Tips for Seniors

1. Prepare to Traverse Different Terrains

Utilizing public transportation efficiently is all about preparation and understanding everything that’s involved. Depending on where someone lives, there may not be much hassle with getting to the right pick up point. Otherwise, seniors need to prepare to get to bus stops, subway stations, or places where para transit services run. Although the shorter the walk the better, wearing the right footwear, the appropriate clothing, and planning a familiar route are all ways that seniors can make accessing public transportation easier for themselves.

It’s likely that individuals will encounter various sets of stairs, uneven pavement, and possibly slippery conditions when it’s wet outside, so it’s all about assessing things a day at a time to maximize safety.

2. Have Your Fare Ready

Whether you’re taking the bus, riding the subway, or even taking a taxi or Uber, having your fare ready ahead of time can help to avoid any mishaps and ensure that individuals will have enough money to get where they’re going. When boarding, you won’t want to fumble around with counting money or searching through your pockets or purse. This can hold up the line and even be distracting to seniors while ascending or descending sets of stairs. Putting your fare money in an easily accessible pocket is a great way to keep your travels going smoothly and ensuring you’re never left stranded somewhere!

3. Stay Alert to your Environment 

Many people are turned off from utilizing public transportation due to shared, sometimes confined spaces and having to interact with strangers — even if on a very basic level. Although these concerns are very real, riding public transportation is generally very safe, it often just comes down to remaining alert to what’s going on around you. It could be common sense for many, but avoiding people who are acting suspiciously and being mindful of your personal belongings is a good place to start.

Beyond being mindful of your fellow passengers, staying alert to the sudden movements of buses or subway trains is also important for avoiding any potential injuries or mishaps. When possible, hold on to the bottom of a seat or any available railings to remain secure while in transit. Overall, seniors who remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings will be public transportation experts in no time!

4. Travel During the Day

While public transportation is a great resource for seniors who have access to it, there are definitely better times to utilize these services than others. A large percentage of crimes occur at night, making it preferable to use public transportation during the day. Even though any form of travel can present more potential dangers at night, taking a taxi service is probably the best bet if it becomes absolutely necessary. Additionally, services like Uber or Lyft may also represent good options considering these services can be told where to meet someone. This way seniors won’t have to walk any further than necessary during the evening hours.

Night time can also make for limited visibility, making it difficult to see any potential uneven stretches of pavement or other obstacles that can increase the likelihood of falls and injuries.

5. Carry a Flashlight

Although it’s not ideal, if you must travel at night, then carrying a flashlight is highly recommended. Seniors shouldn’t have to risk potential injuries just trying to utilize public transportation, however, not every bus stop or train station is as well-lit as many would like. With a flashlight, seniors will be able to avoid any potential obstacles and help other vehicles or pedestrians to be aware of their presence. It might seem like a bit much for some, but again getting the most out of public transportation as a senior is all about preparation, planning, and staying safe! 

Again, public transportation is something that can help seniors get where they need to go with limited hassle. Still, for areas where access is limited, using other services available from ride sharing companies may be the better option, though frequent usage can become quite expensive over time. Becoming comfortable with using public transportation can be a great resource for seniors who are still independent enough to get out into the community on their own, it just takes a few considerations to make sure you or a loved one is safe while doing so!

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