More and more Americans over the age of 65 are choosing to age independently in place for as long as possible, including many in the greater Birmingham area. But when a senior loses their driving privileges and still needs to get around the city, it presents unique logistical challenges that can ultimately affect their health and wellbeing. If you’re currently trying to help an elderly loved one in Birmingham find safe and reliable transportation, here are some of the more affordable options that are available.

Active Seniors Are Usually Healthier

Numerous studies have found that seniors who stay active and socially engaged thanks to reliable transportation not only enjoy a higher quality of life, they also tend to live longer. On the other hand, elderly individuals that lack access to affordable forms of transportation are placed at higher risk for:

  • A medical crisis that requires emergency treatment or hospitalization
  • Having to choose between paying for food and medicine versus seeing their doctor
  • Social isolation, depression and suicidal tendencies
  • A lower quality of life

In general, older adults without reliable transportation oftentimes lose their freedom and independence more quickly than seniors who can get around. As a result, many end up living out the remainder of their lives in a long-term care facility or relative’s home.

Transportation Services for Birmingham Seniors

Here are some of the safer and more affordable transportation services that are available to seniors living in the Birmingham area:

Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority (BJCTA)

The BJCTA provides fixed bus route services that cover a 200 square mile radius in and around Birmingham. Riders aged 62-and-over can purchase reduced-rate passes, which are .75 one way or $2.00 for all day. Note that seniors that use a wheelchair or who have a disability that otherwise limits mobility may want to consider another option. For more information about BJCTA’s bus services, visit: www.maxtransit.org.

ClasTran

The Birmingham Regional Paratransit Consortium (ClasTran) is a nonprofit company that provides specialized transportation (paratransit) services for those with disabilities living in the Birmingham area. ClasTran vehicles are equipped to transport persons aged 60-and-over, as well as younger riders that qualify for paratransit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). All rides are subsidized, and the cost is $4.00 for one-way travel or $8.00 per round trip. ClasTran’s wheelchair-accessible vehicles can also transport:

  • Three-wheeled scooters that are regulation-compliant
  • Service animals like guide dogs
  • Life-support equipment including respirators and portable oxygen tanks

You can make a next day ClasTran reservation before 11 A.M. and tickets can be purchased by mail, in person or by phone at (205) 325-8787. For more information, visit: www.clastran.com.

Travelers Aid Birmingham

Travelers Aid of Greater Birmingham (TAGB) is an organization that provides free transportation services for low-income seniors so that they can get to their medical appointments. According to their website, TAGB’s Senior Ride Program exists to connect low-income elderly individuals with medical care providers so that they can remain i