One of the biggest challenges facing Huntsville residents aged 65-and-over is getting around town when they have health issues that keep them from driving. But it’s so important for aging in place seniors to have affordable and readily accessible transportation opportunities available to them so they can run errands, get to the doctor and socialize with others. Fortunately, there are several reliable and affordable transportation options in the Huntsville area that can help keep seniors happier, healthier and more independent.
Seniors Face these Transportation Challenges
According to the National Caregivers Library, more than 8 million elderly Americans struggle with transportation challenges because of:
- Driving restrictions. Safely operating a motor vehicle requires good vision, flexibility and quick reflexes, all of which can be diminished by the aging process.
- Logistics. Once an elderly person has turned in their car keys for good, they usually rely on public transportation. But if they live too far away from public transportation routes, that makes getting around exceedingly difficult.
- Mobility. Boarding a bus, negotiating hills or crossing a busy street can all be dangerous for someone who uses a walker, scooter or wheelchair to get to their destination.
- Scheduling. Most older people like to schedule their appointments during the day to avoid rush hour periods, but that’s when most of their family members are working or public transportation services are limited.
Transporting Seniors Around Huntsville
If you’re looking after an elderly loved one who lives in Huntsville, here are some of the reliable ways to get them around the city:
The city of Huntsville offers shuttle bus services for all residents, including discounted rates of .50 per one-way ride for those aged 65-and-over. The Huntsville Transit system also provides special Handi-Ride Paratransit shuttles for persons who:
- Have a disability that makes it difficult for them to ride a regular city bus and who also live within 3/4 mile of a shuttle bus route
- Are over the age of 65 who also do not live near a bus route
Handi-Ride services can be scheduled in advance once a completed application is filed with the Department of Parking & Public Transportation, and the cost is $2.00 per one-way trip. For seniors with more serious mobility issues, there are also Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) available that can assist riders with their communication, personal care, mobility, language translation and eating needs at no additional charge. It should be noted on the initial Handi-Ride application that PCA services might be needed in the future, and certain restrictions do apply.
For more information about the public transportation services offered by Huntsville Transit, you can call 256-427-6857, or visit: www.huntsvilleal.gov.
Uber and Lyft
Both Uber and Lyft provide ride-sharing services in the Huntsville area. Each company offers two different service levels depending upon the size of vehicle that’s desired, and if your senior is m