Transportation Resource Guide for Seniors & Individuals with Disabilities

Cole Neder

Cole Neder

Updated & Fact Checked: 04.20.2024


Caregivers often bear the responsibility of providing transportation, with over 40 percent of older and disabled adults relying on family, friends, or neighbors for rides. A 2021 survey by the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC), administered by USAging and Easterseals, found that around three-quarters of caregivers list providing or arranging transport as one of their primary duties.

According to USAging, the national association for Area Agencies on Aging, approximately 600,000 older adults give up driving each year. This transition can create challenges for aging or ill loved ones, making it harder for them to attend medical appointments, shop for necessities, visit family, or participate in social events. Consequently, this increased isolation negatively impacts their health and well-being.

To address these challenges, it’s important to explore alternative transportation options. While available services vary by location, several programs and services are generally accessible across the country to help older and disabled individuals maintain their independence and social connections.

Understanding Different Services

Transportation plays a crucial role in maintaining the independence and quality of life for seniors. As individuals age, driving may become more challenging or even impossible due to health issues or other limitations. Fortunately, there are various transportation options specifically designed to meet the needs of older adults.

From public transit and paratransit services to ride-sharing apps and volunteer driver programs, seniors have access to a range of choices that can help them stay connected, access essential services, and remain active in their communities. Understanding these options is key to ensuring that seniors can continue to live independently and engage in meaningful activities as they age.

Public Transit

Fixed-route public transit refers to a transportation system with predetermined routes, schedules, and stops, such as buses, trains, or trolleys. These services operate along fixed paths, picking up and dropping off passengers at designated stops along the way.

For seniors and individuals with disabilities, fixed-route public transit can be a convenient and cost-effective way to travel, providing access to essential services, activities, and destinations within a community. However, there are navigational and accessibility-related challenges that may arise for these populations when using fixed-route public transit. To address these challenges, many fixed-route public transit systems offer specialized services or accommodations for seniors and individuals with disabilities:

  1. Priority Seating: Individuals with mobility impairments may  find it challenging to board or disembark from vehicles, especially at stops without accessible features. Reserved seating near the front of vehicles can mitigate challenges for seniors and individuals with disabilities.
  2. Accessibility Features: Waiting for and riding on fixed-route transit vehicles can be physically demanding for some seniors and individuals with disabilities, particularly those with mobility issues. Vehicles equipped with ramps, lifts, and other features can better accommodate mobility devices.
  3. Travel Training: Seniors and individuals with cognitive impairments may find it difficult to navigate the fixed-route system, including understanding schedules, routes, and transfer points. These programs provide instruction on how to use the fixed-route system safely and independently.

Paratransit Services

Paratransit services are specialized transportation services designed to meet the needs of individuals who are unable to use traditional fixed-route public transit due to a disability or condition. These services are typically provided as a complement to regular public transit and are mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for public transit agencies in the United States.

Paratransit services offer door-to-door or curb-to-curb transportation for individuals who are unable to access or navigate traditional buses or trains. This includes individuals with mobility impairments, visual or hearing impairments, cognitive disabilities, or other conditions that prevent them from using regular public transit.

To use paratransit services, individuals must typically qualify based on their disability or condition, as defined by the ADA. Once eligible, passengers can schedule rides in advance, usually with a designated paratransit provider. The provider will then pick up the passenger from their location and transport them to their destination.

Paratransit vehicles are often equipped with features to accommodate passengers with disabilities, such as wheelchair ramps, lifts, and securement systems. Drivers are trained to assist passengers with boarding, securing mobility devices, and other needs they may have during the trip.

National Center of Mobility Management

  • Nationwide

A national transit database that maps the locations of transit agencies and organizations throughout the United States. The database offers a comprehensive list of organizations that offer transportation services to communities nationwide.

Transdev Mobility Company

  • Multiple Locations (Nationwide)

Transdev North America is a leading provider of mobility services, offering public transportation, paratransit, shuttle, and other transportation services across the United States. Transdev operates in over 200 cities and communities, providing safe, reliable, and accessible transportation solutions.

Professional Transit

  • New York City, NY


Professional Transit is a privately owned company who has been contracted by New York City Transit Access A Ride program for over 10 years. They provide transportation services for those who are unable to utilize public transit.

United Way 211

  • Nationwide (Local Variations)

By dialing 211 or visiting the United Way 211 website, people can access information and referrals for a wide range of services, including food assistance, housing and utility assistance, healthcare, mental health services, and more. United Way 211 operates in many communities across the United States.

Demand Response Services

Demand response transportation services for seniors, also known as Dial-a-Ride or paratransit services, provide flexible and on-demand transportation options for older adults who may have difficulty using traditional public transit. These services are typically operated by public transit agencies or private companies and are designed to meet the specific needs of seniors and individuals with disabilities. These services typically operate through the following formats:

  1. Reservation-Based: Seniors can request transportation by calling a designated phone number or using an online booking system. Reservations are usually required in advance, typically 24 hours or more. 
  2. Flexible Pick-Up and Drop-Off: Unlike fixed-route public transit, demand response services offer more flexibility in terms of pick-up and drop-off locations. Seniors can be picked up from their homes or other specified locations and dropped off at their destination.
  3. Shared Rides: Demand response services often operate on a shared-ride basis, meaning that multiple passengers may be picked up and dropped off along the same route. This helps maximize efficiency and reduce costs.
  4. Accessible Vehicles: Vehicles used for demand response services are often wheelchair-accessible and equipped with features to accommodate passengers with mobility challenges.
  5. Affordable or Subsidized Fare: While fares for demand response services may vary, many agencies offer discounted fares for seniors and individuals with disabilities.

National Aging and Disability Transportation Center

  • Nationwide

Provides a range of resources, training, technical assistance, and information to transportation providers, human service agencies, advocates, and community members to help them improve transportation options for older adults and individuals with disabilities.

Eldercare Locator

  • Nationwide

A national directory of local resources for older adults, including information on transportation options. Use this website to find resources at the county and municipal level on a range of senior transportation services.

Local Area Agencies on Aging (AAA)

  • Nationwide

AAA offices often provide information and assistance with transportation options for seniors. Interested individuals can find their local AAA office by following this link.

Center for Independent Living

  • Nationwide

The Center for Independent Living (CIL) is a community-based, non-profit organization that provides services and support to people with disabilities. The goal of CILs is to promote independence, self-determination, and inclusion for individuals with disabilities by providing a range of services.

Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT)

Non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) is a specialized service that provides transportation for individuals who require medical services but do not have access to personal vehicles or other means of transportation. NEMT services are typically used by individuals who need to travel to medical appointments, such as doctor visits, dialysis treatments, physical therapy sessions, and other non-emergency medical appointments.

NEMT services are often covered by Medicaid, private insurance, or Medicare Advantage plans, although coverage and eligibility criteria may vary. NEMT providers may include taxis, wheelchair-accessible vans, or vehicles dispatched by specialty brokers or community groups.

To use NEMT services, individuals typically need to schedule their transportation in advance, usually at least 24 hours before their appointment. The transportation provider will then pick them up from their home or another designated location and take them to their medical appointment. After the appointment, the provider will return them to their original location.

NEMT services often include accommodations for individuals with disabilities, such as wheelchair-accessible vehicles and assistance with boarding and disembarking. Providers may also offer door-to-door service for individuals who need assistance getting in and out of vehicles or navigating through buildings.

Rides in Sight

  • Nationwide

The service helps cancer patients find transportation to and from their treatment appointments. It connects patients with local transportation providers, such as volunteer driver programs, public transit options, and other transportation services, based on the patient’s needs and location.

Senior Care Resource

  • Nationwide

Online tool used to locate information on what qualifies for medicaid, how to use different senior transportation options, and what qualifies as a NEMT.

National Association of Area Agencies on Aging

  • Nationwide

Non-profit organization that represents the interests of Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and Title VI Native American aging programs across the United States. Advocates for policies and programs that support older adults and their caregivers, provides training and technical assistance to AAAs, and conducts research on aging-related issues.

Ride-Sharing and Taxi Services

Ride-sharing and taxi services can be valuable transportation options for seniors, offering flexibility and convenience for those who may not drive or have access to public transit. These services can help seniors maintain their independence, stay connected with their communities, and access essential services and activities.

Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, as well as traditional taxi services, offer on-demand transportation, allowing seniors to request rides quickly and easily using a smartphone app or by calling a taxi company. Many ride-sharing companies and taxi services offer accessible vehicles and accommodations for passengers with disabilities or mobility challenges, such as wheelchair-accessible vehicles or assistance with boarding and disembarking.

Ride-sharing and taxi services can be a flexible transportation option for seniors, allowing them to travel at their own pace and schedule, without the constraints of fixed routes or schedules. Using ride-sharing and taxi services can help seniors stay engaged with their communities, allowing them to attend social events, visit friends and family, and access local services and amenities.

GoGo Grandparent

  • Nationwide

A service that helps older adults use ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft without needing a smartphone or the ride-sharing apps. It works by allowing users to call a phone number to request a ride, and GoGoGrandparent handles the booking and payment through their platform.


  • Nationwide

Transportation service specifically designed for seniors and older adults. It offers safe, comfortable, and reliable transportation for seniors who may no longer drive or prefer not to drive. SilverRide drivers are trained to assist seniors with mobility needs and provide door-to-door service, helping seniors get to medical appointments, social outings, grocery shopping, and other destinations.

Uber and Lyft Services

  • Nationwide (Service Varies)

Convenient- sometimes locally subsidized- transportation options for seniors. These services allow users to request a ride through a smartphone app, and a driver will pick them up and take them to their destination.

Service Resources by State