How to Find Transportation Services for Elderly or Disabled

Each year more than a half million older adults stop driving. In our automobile-centered country, this can often create challenges to older adults who need and want to get around. And its a big challenge to their family caregivers. In fact, family caregivers list providing or arranging transportation as one of their primary responsibilities as a caregiver.*

We understand that there are times you as a family caregiver may not be available to drive your senior adult because you have work, care for children, or have other duties. What is available in your area will vary. But hopefully this article will help you start identifying transportation services in your area and soon you’ll have identified some options that work for your senior adult.

Transportation Services for Elderly

Rides / Transportation Services for Elderly and Disabled

This might be a bit obvious but metropolitan areas have many more transportation services such as buses, light rail, taxis, and Uber/ Lyft. Rural areas generally have transportation too, but you may only find a couple of options like volunteers and pre-scheduled shuttle options.

In the next paragraphs we’ll introduce several programs and services that are geared to helping older adults and disabled people get around. And some may not be available in your area, as I mentioned. This information on transportation options came from NADTC, National Aging and Disability Transportation Center, and Eldercare Locator, both national organizations.

We’ll also include specific transportation services that are located in the San Francisco Bay Area where we Beacon Home Care is based. We feel these examples will help people know what to look for.

Paratransit Services

Public Transit – Buses, Light Rail, and Trains

You may have thought of bus and rail services first. Buses, trains, and transit stations usually will have accessibility features such as elevators, ramps, and bus lifts. BART has station elevators that allow one to avoid stairs and get from the station to the platform. In the SF Bay area, buses have lifts as well as a feature to lower the entire front end of bus closer to the ground. However, public transit might not be a suitable alternative for seniors who will have difficulty with stairs, or walking and rolling to and from stops.


Public transit agencies nationwide are required by law to provide paratransit for disabled people who are unable to use public transit. Paratransit is typically shared rides, and a curb-to-curb service.

Riders must meet eligibility criteria set out in the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Vehicles typically are vans outfitted for accessibility. Trips are scheduled in advance.

For example, see East Bay Paratransit which serves the entire San Francisco East Bay and carries passengers to San Francisco as well. This service is limited to areas within ¾ mile of an operating bus route or BART station. Thus, for some rides one might need two services.

transportation services

Demand Response

Sometimes called Dial-a-Ride, demand response is another shared-ride service, carrying single or multiple passengers who book individually with different pickup points and destinations. Reservations usually must be made at least 24 hours in advance, online or by phone.

For example, in El Cerrito CA the program is called Easy Ride Paratransit Senior and Disabled Transportation and is limited to El Cerrito and a few other destinations like Costco, Target.

In Albany, CA the Albany Paratransit Program provides subsidies for taxi, Uber, and Lyft rides for Albany residents ages 70 and over, as well as residents 18 and over who have a disability or disabling condition that prevents them from using public transportation or driving a car.


Some communities require locally licensed taxi companies to  include accessible vehicles that will accommodate wheelchairs. They also may offer taxi vouchers to older and disabled riders like in the program in Albany, CA.

Uber and Lyft – With and Without a Cell Phone

As you may know Lyft and Uber connect passengers with drivers who provide point-to-point transportation in their own vehicles. Booking and payment are typically done via smart phone with an app.

In some cities, riders can request wheelchair assistance when booking a ride The Uber Assist program trains drivers to help passengers who use walkers, wheelchairs, or scooters. Also, Lyft and United Way teamed up to provide free rides and deliveries to callers at 211 in twenty-five U.S. cities for people who have difficulty using public transit.

Non-Mobile Phone Users: Some people prefer not to have a mobile device or aren’t comfortable with apps. Now they can request rides via the Lyft and Uber websites.

Additionally, Uber riders with cell phones can call 833-USE-UBER, 833-873-8237 to request a ride. Uber agents are available in English or Spanish 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET nationwide. Landlines can’t be used because trips are confirmed by text message.


Another option is GoGoGrandparent, that lets you book Uber rides by cellphone and landline. Membership starts at $14.99 a month. GoGoGrandparent charges 19 cents per minute on top of Uber’s regular costs, and works wherever Uber operates.

transportation services

Private Caregivers and Home Care Agencies

A caregiver will be able to take your senior adult or disabled person to doctor appointments, shopping, haircuts, restaurants, church, and even social gatherings. At a doctor’s appointment the caregiver can take notes and be your second set of ears. If your family member is undergoing treatments, the caregiver can provide transportation (link) and emotional support during the session. If you are considering home care services perhaps for companionship, personal care, or household needs, rest assured a caregiver can also provide transportation services.

There are quite a few transportation services for elders, especially in metropolitan area. Convenience and cost depends on a number of factors, so getting started requires some research and experiments. One way to get started is to talk to other senior adults in your area about what transportation services they use. The other way to get started is to pick service from this list, Google it and then give it try.


If you are interested in escort and transportation services for a senior adult, talk to us at Beacon Home Care. Caregivers are carefully screened, including their DMV record, and will use their car or your car. We offer compassionate one-on-one, non-medical care and quality companionship to seniors and anyone with special needs.

Beacon Home Care offers a broad range of home care services to support the mind, body, and spirit of our clients. Our mission is to provide peace of mind to families by assisting those who are getting older, chronically ill, recovering from an injury, or people with special needs.

Because we are locally owned, our caregivers understand and respect the diverse cultures that makes Northern California and the Bay Area unique.