Transportation Options for Seattle Seniors
For seniors living in the greater Seattle area, there are plenty of transportation options to help you stay mobile, active, and independent. Many offer senior discounts and accommodate accessibility needs as well, but those who are still driving around need to be careful. Becoming a senior citizen is not only adding a number to your age, your ability to use your senses decreases over time, especially eyesight and hearing, and to be driving around like that can be a serious hazard for you and other around. However, there have been cases where people over 90 are still driving around, but that doesn’t mean that everyone can since, you can ask any car accident lawyer and they can confirm that the chances of getting into an accident are much higher around those ages. This is why there are many other means of transportation so senior citizen don’t have to drive and get to their destination safely.
Seattle’s public transportation system includes:
- Light Rail
- The famous Seattle Monorail
- Walk-on ferries and water taxis
These can offer some great options for nimble seniors who have a flexible schedule, can safely walk to and from a station, and are comfortable in crowded spaces.
Discount: King County offers a rider fare discount through the Senior Regional Reduced Fare Program (RRFP), which can be used on ten different forms of transportation and can be set up with the ORCA swipe card. King County is currently hosting virtual pop-up events to help seniors sign up for the RRFP permit, though you can also apply online.
Shuttles offer expanded accessibility accommodations (usually including driver assistance) and door-to-door pickups and drop-offs that can include multiple stops. They can be a great option for seniors with limited mobility, who feel uncomfortable in crowds, or who can’t risk the delays that can often happen with public transportation.
Access Transportation shuttle
- Part of the Senior RRFP, Seattle’s Access Transportation shuttle provides trips both locally and to nearby counties, and can be reserved online or on the phone. It offers reduced fare paid with a ticket, a pass, or cash.
- Important Note: The Access shuttle is only available to those you are found eligible for the ADA Paratransit Program. You can find out if you are eligible here.
- The Hyde Shuttle offers a free van service for helping older adults and adults with disabilities get to local destinations, social gatherings, and appointments. (Donations are accepted.)
- Hyde seats can also be reserved either by calling or booking online.
- Much more than a shuttle, Hopelink offers several mobility services for seniors and people with medical needs.
- Using their DART transit system, they work with King County Metro to pick up and drop off passengers in minibuses, outside of regular routes and with more flexibility than the regular transit bus schedule. (DART rides can be reserved and accept non-discounted public transit fare.)
- In King and Snohomish counties, Hopelink also provides non-emergency transportation for Medicaid-covered health services.
- Seattle-area seniors living between Shoreline and Duvall can also take advantage of the Community Van pilot program for shared, customized rides to any popular destination within a two-hour trip length. Whether it’s a farmer’s market, a concert, or a birthday party, the Community Van requires no age or medical criteria to ride and can be a great stress-free travel option.
- The Community Van does require at least two riders to request a destination and a minimum of 48 hours to reserve a spot. It offers accessibility accommodations upon request and accepts only the mobile Transit GO tickets, the ORCA card, or subsidized bus tickets to cover the standard transit fare.
Ridesharing services (Lyft and Uber)
Fast and direct
In a metro area like Seattle, finding a rideshare car is rarely a problem, even during popular times of day. With upfront pricing, spontaneous availability, the option to reserve a car to yourself, and a nonstop ride, a rideshare provides many seniors a quick and easy commute without much planning needed. Even for seniors still driving, it can offer a way to avoid stressful parking and nighttime glare.
Limited accessibility accommodations
Ridesharing services can be a great option for seniors comfortable downloading and using apps on their phone and who don’t need help with getting in and out of cars, since Lyft and Uber drivers in Washington are not yet trained to assist. (Both Lyft and Uber have announced pilot programs in several cities and countries to increase accessibility for riders with mobility needs.)
Neither Uber nor Lyft offer senior discounts, though rates can fluctuate depending on the time of day or amount of traffic. The companies offer comparable rates, so the choice can come down to ease of use, company practices, and which one is more available.
Available without the app
But even seniors who aren’t as tech-savvy or don’t use a smartphone can still use these services. For seniors using the GreatCall Jitterbug phones, they can simply dial 0 to request a Lyft ride, and the fare is included in their monthly statement. While Uber doesn’t yet offer a similar service in Washington State, the company has partnered with GoGoGrandparent, a monthly subscription-based service with operators to help you order a ride through easy digit (pressing 1, 2, etc.) commands. (The service adds a low by-the-minute concierge fee to the ride fares—similar to a taxi charge—but offers a free subscription trial and a demo to test it out.)
Options at Era Living retirement communities
Era Living understands that when seniors choose to stop driving, they still need to feel independent and self-sufficient. That’s why we provide our own shuttle service to take residents on group outings, whether it’s running errands or a city adventure. Many of our communities provide free transportation services for select locations and times. And all of our communities offer additional transportation services for a fee.
With all the ways to get around, Seattle seniors have plenty of options for exploring, being productive, and taking care of themselves. And the staff at Era Living retirement communities are also here to answer questions about transportation and other aspects of senior living. If you’re considering a move to senior living, see what all our communities have to offer and get in touch—we’d love to meet you and answer your questions.