Arranging transportation when you aren’t driving yourself can be challenging, whether you’re carless, have retired from driving, or want to help a loved one get to a medical appointment when you aren’t available. Here are five tips to help you get started:
1. Try Public Transit
- Regional Transit Authorities — Did you know that in addition to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), there are 15 Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs) around Massachusetts? From Nantucket to Williamstown, local bus service may be able to help you get where you need to go. Find out which RTA is in your area and then visit their website or contact them to find local bus options nearby.
- Paratransit Services — If you have a disability that prevents you from riding the bus, you may qualify for paratransit service, which picks you up at your location and takes you to your destination. The MBTA offers THE RIDE, and RTAs offer similar services. Contact your local transit authority to find out what services are available in your area.
- Travel Instruction — If you are nervous about riding the bus or other public transportation, check out a travel instruction program. Many transit authorities help new customers familiarize themselves with the system. Some programs offer more intensive assistance to people who need help with street crossing skills, learning landmarks, and other aspects of riding transit independently and safely.
2. Contact Your Council on Aging
Almost every city and town has a Council on Aging (COA), many of which have their own van for seniors. Some COAs also provide transportation for people with disabilities. Call your COA to see what services they offer or if they can help you get in touch with other local transportation providers.
3. Find Someone Who Can Drive You
- Friends, Neighbors, and Faith Community Members — If a family member isn’t available to drive you, perhaps a neighbor or friend would be willing. If you are part of a faith community, another member of your congregation might be happy to help.
- Volunteer Programs — Many COAs and other organizations offer volunteer driver programs that match people who need a ride with people who want to help.
- Ridematching Services — You can look for someone to carpool with on the NuRide platform through the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s (MassDOT) MassRIDES initiative.
4. Contact Other Government Services
Some governmental programs include a transportation benefit.
- If you are a MassHealth beneficiary, you may qualify for transportation to eligible medical appointments.
- If you are a veteran, contact your local Veterans’ Services Officer to learn about options for veterans’ transportation services.
- If you receive benefits from any other state agency, or think you might qualify, contact them to ask whether they offer any transportation. You can also reach out to MassOptions to get connected to community services.
5. Use an Online Database to Find Transportation Providers
Many organizations have compiled lists of transportation services.
- Look up your town on the MassMobility interactive map to see what is available nearby.
- If you live in Southeastern Massachusetts, use the Ride Match searchable, online database to find public and private transportation providers. Developed by the Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority (GATRA), Ride Match is currently expanding to cover additional regions of Massachusetts, so check back in 2016 to see if your region is included.
Get Involved in Local Efforts to Expand Mobility Options
If you would like to see even more options available in your community, we invite you to get involved. MassMobility is a joint initiative of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (HHS) and MassDOT to increase mobility for seniors, people with disabilities, veterans, low-income individuals, and anyone who lacks access to transportation in Massachusetts.
Individuals who want to make a difference in their region and improve transportation have many options to get involved in the local transportation planning process. Community organizations, transportation providers, and employers can also play an important role.
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