For seniors who no longer drive, it may be difficult to get to a senior center. If you or your older relative needs help with transportation, it is good to know that there are a number of options, depending on where you live.
To find out if your county or local senior center offers transportation, contact your local Senior Information and Assistance Office.
- Senior Center Services
Some centers contract with private van companies to transport members. Others may own their own vans and use paid or volunteer drivers to bring members to the centers. There may be a nominal fee for the ride or a donation may be requested.
- Agency Services
Some government agencies operate their own transportation systems for seniors. They may contract with private companies or purchase their own vehicles. In addition to providing rides to the senior center, these transportation systems may take seniors to the doctor's office, the grocery store, bank, or hairdresser. Typically, these services have their own headquarters where rides can be scheduled by calling the office directly. The cost varies, and some services require that tickets be purchased ahead of time.
In Baltimore County, CountyRide provides paratransit service to senior centers on a limited basis. Participants must be registered in the CountyRide program and make reservations in advance.
Maryland Transit Administration
The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) provides many services that make public transportation easy and affordable for seniors. Approximately 60 percent of the MTA bus fleet is equipped with lifts for wheelchairs. The Metro subway and light rail are fully accessible to people with disabilities.
- Reduced Fare
Senior citizens, 65 years and older, with a valid MTA photo identification card, may ride for one-third the regular fare on bus, light rail and Metro subway and one-half fare on MARC service. A reduced-fare day pass is also available. Some senior centers invite MTA officials to the center to issue free photo ID cards.
- Priority Seating
There are seats in front of each bus, light rail train and Metro subway car that are designated as priority seats for seniors and people with disabilities.
- Stop Announcements
Bus and train operators are required to announce all transfer points, major intersections, and points of interest. If you or your older relative is not able to recognize your stop, you may request that the operator announce it.
Paratransit for Those with Disabilities
Paratransit is a specialized, curb-to-curb service for people with disabilities who are unable to use regular bus, Metro subway, or light rail service. Paratransit is provided by the MTA's Mobility Department and by private transportation companies that contract with the MTA.
Paratransit service is provided within three-quarters of a mile of any bus, Metro subway or light rail route operated by the MTA in Baltimore City, and Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties. To participate in the Paratransit program, an individual must complete an application and schedule an interview. Eligibility is based on the individual's functional ability.
For more information on MTA services for seniors, or for an application for the Paratransit program, visit the MTA's website.
Some counties and cities in Maryland have developed partnerships with cab companies to provide discounted taxi rides to seniors. For seniors who need transportation to centers, these programs allow greater flexibility with scheduling.
- In Baltimore City, the TAXICARD Program provides discount transportation to eligible individuals. The riders use a TAXICARD that allows them to ride for a reduced fare with participating taxicab companies, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- The Anne Arundel County Department of Aging offers the Taxi Voucher Program to income-eligible seniors 55 years of age and older and to persons 18 or older with disabilities who meet the income guidelines.