The availability of adequate transportation for seniors in Massachusetts enables them to live independently in their communities, and helps prevent isolation and the possible need for long-term care placement. Many seniors who do not drive often rely on family and friends to help get them around. But for others, it is necessary to find community and state resources to provide transportation, as this vital support service may be their only connection to the outside world. State-wide, Massachusetts offers five programs to assist its senior citizens live a full life.
Reduced-Priced Services on Fixed Routes
Massachusetts residents over age 65 are eligible for reduced fares on bus, subway, commuter rail, and boat services along fixed public transportation routes. Seniors can also purchase a monthly pass, good for unlimited travel on local bus and subway, for $28 at the CharlieCard Store located in the underground concourse at the Downtown Crossing station in Boston.
The RIDE, operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), provides door-to-door service to Massachusetts residents who cannot ride the subway or local fixed-route buses on their own because of a physical, cognitive or mental disability. Residents must apply in person and once approved, may use the RIDE as often as they like.
The fare for each registered passenger or guest is $3 for a local, one-way trip. A Personal Care Assistant accompanying a registered user is not charged a fare and one other person may travel as a guest.
Van services are offered by different agencies, depending on the Massachusetts community in which you live; and provide Massachusetts seniors transportation between members’ homes and senior centers for errands such as food shopping and medical appointments.
MassHealth Transportation Services
Seniors who are MassHealth members and who need non-emergency transportation to and from medical appointments may be eligible for free transportation services. This includes eligible members who:
- Use public transportation may be reimbursed for their transportation expenses.
- Need dial-a-ride services can get van or taxi service free of charge if there is no private transportation or public transportation available, and your health care provider authorizes your need for transportation by filling out a Prescription for Transportation (Form PT-1).
Interested seniors should call the MassHealth Customer Service Center for more information.
Volunteer Driver Programs
Many Massachusetts Senior Centers and Councils on Aging offer volunteer driver programs to help seniors get around. If seniors want to apply for this service, they must be a resident of the community where the program operates, and have few other transportation options available.