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Assessing Transportation Needs
 To Drive, or Not to Drive?
 Finding Transportation Services
Types of Service
Transportation Services Provided by Massachusetts Transit Authorities
Fixed Route Services
Paratransit Services
Shuttles and Other Community Transportation Resources

To get started, you'll need to assess the physical and cognitive capabilities of the elder in your care, as well as the types of transportation services available in the community. Talk with staff members at your local Council on Aging (COA) or your Aging Service Access Point (ASAP). They will be the best source of information about the transportation services in the area that are tailored to your needs.

Most older Americans prefer private vehicles over all other forms of transportation. The American Automobile Association (AAA) says that drivers 65 and older take more than 80 percent of trips in their own vehicles. However, the American Medical Association points out that motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among 64 to 75 year olds and the second leading cause (after falls) among 77 to 84 year olds.

From a public health perspective, there are two critical challenges: to help aging individuals recognize their changing abilities and adapt their driving practices accordingly; and to identify impaired drivers while supporting the competent ones. From the caregiver perspective, the discussion about whether an elder can continue to drive is often a difficult one. Information to help discuss the pros and cons, and resources that can provide assessment, can be found at these organizations:

 AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Foundation for Public Safety provides a helpful website: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

 American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) offers driver safety courses and information, and you can preview these materials on the website: American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) .

 American Medical Association (AMA) publication Physician's Guide to Assessing and Counseling Older Drivers provides information about what can be done to help maintain driving fitness, as well as recommendations for rehabilitation and counseling for those who may be at-risk behind the wheel. This publication is available to consumers as a free PDF at NHTSA. You may also order a printed copy from the National Highway Safety Administration on their website NHTSA, or by calling 1-888-327-4236 and ask for publication number DOT HS 809 647.

Public transit offers many services tailored to the needs of seniors, and they are inexpensive to use. However, the availability of transportation service varies greatly from community to community across the state because the need for transportation is so much greater than the available funding.

Publicly funded services are administered by regional transportation authorities (RTA), and each regional transportation authority establishes its own guidelines and services for elder transportation. Services are provided by RTAs, through a mix of contracted vendors, volunteers, and not for profit organizations, including local Councils on Aging (COAs) and Aging Service Access Points (ASAPs).

Use the information that follows to determine which type of transportation service you need, and what services are available in your community. If you can't find what you need here, check with your Aging Service Access Point (ASAP) or your local Council on Aging (COA). See Section 8, for listings in your city or town.

Fixed Route Services: Reduced fares are available for seniors and/or people with disabilities who can use regular public transportation routes from the MBTA, including commuter rail service to outlying communities, and also from the 15 Regional Transit Authorities (RTA's). For a full listing of contact information on public transportation, see Fixed Route Services, below.

Paratransit services: This is the name for transportation that is accessible for persons whose physical condition restricts the use of public transportation. Service is provided using fully-accessible vans, mini-buses, and taxis and does not follow fixed routes or schedules, as a bus does. This is sometimes referred to as "demand responsive transportation." The state of Massachusetts provides paratransit services in sixteen regions. To find out what service is available in your community, see the end of this section, Shuttles & Other Community Transportation Resources, below, which provides contact information for each of the regional transportation authorities.

Along with the non-profit providers and government service providers listed in this section, local ambulance companies can also provide "chair service" to transport elders for medical appointments. See local listings or contact your local town hall for ambulance services in your area.

If an elder's mobility allows, private taxi services are a possible alternative to driving when door-to-door service is needed. There are companies that provide senior discount coupons. Look under "Taxicabs and Transportation Services" in your local phone book for companies in your area, or go to Switchboard.com > Travel Taxi Service > Massachusetts.

Shuttles: Some cities and towns have scheduled, point-to-point senior shuttles for services such as weekly bus trips to supermarkets from senior housing facilities. Some health care providers, such as Massachusetts General Hospital, provide transportation services between their community-based clinics and the hospitals. It is worthwhile to check the website of the hospital or health center you are using to see if similar services exist. Also, some regional transportation authorities provide scheduled transportation service to medical facilities.

You will find a listing of shuttle and other municipal services at, Shuttles & Other Community Transportation Resources, below. If your community is not listed, the best thing to do is call your local COA or ASAP to find out if specialized transportation services are available in your community.

If you live anywhere in Massachusetts, you can get information about obtaining reduced fare passes and other transportation services using the websites and phone numbers of the regional transportation authorities that are provided below.

Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) The MBTA provides service for 175 cities and towns in eastern Massachusetts. Senior ID's are issued at offices in the MBTA's Back Bay and Downtown Crossing stations:

 Back Bay Station servicing the Commuter Rail, Amtrak and the Orange Line has entrances on Dartmouth Street between Stuart Street and Columbus Avenue, and on Clarendon Street near Columbus Avenue.

 Downtown Crossing Station The Senior/TAP ID center is located on the Chauncy Concourse, which is the corridor between the Red and Orange lines.

Office hours for both locations are Monday through Friday, 8:30am - 5:00pm. Offices are closed on holidays. Call 617-222-5438, 617-222-5854 (TTY), 1-800-543-8287. Seniors need to appear in person to sign up, have a photo taken, and to show identification proving date of birth. Once seniors have applied for the Senior ID card, monthly passes or pre-paid "smart cards" can be purchased from the new fare card vending machines, or the customer service booth in the MBTA stations. For information on how to obtain an MBTA reduced fare pass, see the MBTA website at MBTA-Travelling-Disabiity, or call the numbers above and ask to receive a copy of the brochure, "Senior/T.A.P. User Guide" by mail.

Brockton Area Transit (BAT) runs buses along 14 routes in Brockton, as well as routes to the Ashmont M.B.T.A in Dorchester, to Stoughton, and to West Bridgewater. Senior fare is half price. See schedules at: Brockton Area Transit (BAT) , or contact Brockton Area Transit Authority, 34 School Street, Brockton, MA 02301, phone 508-588-1000.

Cape Ann Transportation Authority (CATA) serves Gloucester, Rockport, Magnolia, and connects to the Gloucester commuter train. For schedule information, call 978-283-7278 or go to: Cape Ann Transportation Authority (CATA).

Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority (CCRTA) provides accessible public transportation routes throughout the Cape. Riders over 60 receive a discount. See Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority (CCRTA) , or call the Operations Center toll free at 800-352-7155.

Franklin Regional Transit Authority (FRTA) maintains four fixed routes, all originating and ending in Greenfield, MA. Service is provided from Greenfield into Athol, Bernardston, Charlemont, Deerfield, Erving, Gill, Montague, Northampton, Northfield, Orange, Shelburne Falls, and Sunderland. Bus routes are designed to connect with other providers in the area. For more information, go to Franklin Regional Transit Authority (FRTA), or call 413-774-2262.

Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority (GATRA) provides public transportation services to 17 member communities: Attleboro, Berkeley, Carver, Dighton, Kingston, Lakeville, Mansfield, Middleborough, North Attleboro, Norton, Plainville, Plymouth, Raynham, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Taunton, and Wareham. For schedules and rates see: Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority (GATRA), or call 1-800-483-2500.

Greenfield Montague Transportation Area (GMTA) provides fixed routes servicing Conway/Federal, Westside, Greenfield Community College, Millers Falls/ Montague Center, and Turners Falls. For more information, call 413-773-9478, or 413-773-8090 or e-mail: info@gmta-transit.orgAmherst . Website: Greenfield Montague Transportation Area.

Ipswich Essex Explorer (CATA) a shuttle bus service provided by the Cape Ann Transportation Authority that takes visitors from the Ipswich Train Station to North Shore scenic destinations: Crane Beach, Essex, and Ipswich. Service operates Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from late June until Labor Day. Senior discounts available. Service is reduced on days with inclement weather. To inquire which schedule is in effect, call 978- 356-8540. Visit website for more details: Ipswich Essex Explorer (CATA).

Lowell Regional Transit Authority (LRTA) fixed route service including: Christian Hill, Belvidere, South Lowell, Shaw-Stevens, Westford Street/Drum Hill, Broadway/UMass Lowell, Pawtucketville/UMass Lowell, Centralville, Downtown Circulator, Dracut/Tyngsboro, Tewksbury, Billerica, Burlington Mall/Lahey Clinic, Chelmsford, and Express Shuttles. See website at Lowell Regional Transit Authority (LRTA), or call 978-452-6161.

Martha's Vineyard Regional Transit Authority (VTA) provides year-round public transit service to the six towns of Martha's Vineyard: Aquinnah, Chilmark, Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury and West Tisbury. VTA fixed route service varies throughout the year, depending on the seasonal travel demand. The VTA's peak season of operation typically runs from May to October, with thirteen routes that travel Island-wide. For more information write to VTA, 11A Street, Airport Business Park, Edgartown, MA 02539. Phone: 508-693-9440. e-mail: info@vineyardtransit.com. Website: Martha's Vineyard Regional Transit Authority (VTA) .

The Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority (MVRTA) serves the northeast corner of Massachusetts with over 1 million miles of city, suburban, interurban, and rural scheduled bus routes. Communities include Merrimac, Haverhill, Lawrence, Methuen, Andover, North Andover, Amesbury, and Newburyport. All vehicles are wheelchair accessible. Beach routes are available in the summer. The Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority (MVRTA), or call 978-469-6878.

Montachusett Regional Transportation Plan (MART) serves Ashburnham, Ashby, Athol, Ayer, Clinton, Fitchburg, Gardner, Groton, Harvard, Hubbardston, Lancaster, Leominster, Lunenburg, Petersham, Phillipston, Royalston, Shirley, Sterling, Templeton, Townsend, Westminster, and Winchendon. Located at R1427 Water Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420. Call 978-345-7711 or 800-922-5636 or e-mail: info@MontachusettRTA.org. Website: Montachusett Regional Transportation Plan (MART).

Nantucket Regional Transit Authority (NRTA) provides several routes covering the island. Passes and senior discounts available. For Shuttle information, call 508-228-7025, or visit the website: Nantucket Regional Transit Authority (NRTA).

Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) offers 43 bus routes throughout the Pioneer Valley from Springfield to Sunderland, and from Leverett to Longmeadow. Information offices are located at 1776 Main Street, Springfield, MA 01103. Customer service hours are Monday-Friday: 8:00-4:45 PM. Call: 413-781-7882. In the Northampton/Amherst area call: 413-586-5806, or toll free 877-779-PVTA. Website: Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA).

Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA) offers fixed routes serving Worcester, Auburn, Boylston, Brookfield, Clinton, Holden, Leicester, Millbury, Oxford, Spencer, Shrewsbury, Webster, and West Boylston. Senior ID cards may be obtained at the WRTA's Customer Service Center, located at 317 Main Street in downtown Worcester. All WRTA buses are wheelchair accessible. Call 508-791-WRTA (508-791-9782), or 508-421-8796, or 508-421-8799. Office hours are Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Website: Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA).

Eligibility requirements vary by paratransit provider. Some services may require medical verification of need and completion of an application to register as a service user, others do not. Please check with the providers in your area for details regarding eligibility.

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) THE RIDE The MBTA's paratransit service provides door-to door transportation to eligible people who cannot use general public transportation (subways, buses and trains), all or some of the time, because of a physical, cognitive or mental disability. THE RIDE is operated in compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and is a shared-ride service, which means you are traveling with other people. THE RIDE provides service 365 days a year from 6am to 1am. For more information about THE RIDE, other accessible services available and an application to use THE RIDE go to Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) THE RIDE , or call 1-800-533-6282 in-state toll free or 617-222-5123 or TTY 617-222-5415.

Brockton Area Transit Authority (BAT) provides paratransit services to persons with disabilities of all ages who have obtained an ADA pass. Brockton residents age 65 years or older can bring an ID to the BAT office to sign up to use the paratransit service. See Brockton Area Transit Authority (BAT). In Avon, Abington, Bridgewater, E. & W. Bridgewater, Easton, Stoughton and Whitman, residents 65 and older should contact their local Council on Aging, or call 508-588-2240, to enroll and to obtain information about the services available in their community.

Berkshire Regional Transit Authority (BRTA) supports delivery of paratransit services to the elderly and disabled in 20 communities who cannot use regular service. Eligible persons purchase BRTA tickets at a discount for payment of taxi or chair car services by local private vendors. BRTA also provides lift-equipped 10-passenger vans to community Councils on Aging to serve selected paratransit-eligible persons within those communities. See Berkshire Regional Transit Authority (BRTA) >Transportation Planning > Transportation Fact Sheets > BRTA Fact Sheet. Or call 413-499-2782 or 800-292-BRTA (800-292-2782).

Cape Ann Transportation Authority (CATA) provides a "Dial-A-Ride" paratransit service to people age 60 and over and to people with disabilities with no age restriction from Gloucester, Rockport, Essex and Ipswich on Mondays through Fridays. Reservations required 24 hours in advance. See Cape Ann Transportation Authority (CATA), or call 978-283-1886.

Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority (CCRTA) provides services to elders and persons with disabilities through the local COAs. See Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority (CCRTA) >Transit Guide > Council on Aging Services or call CCRTA Info Line: 800-352-7155.

Franklin Regional Transportation Authority (FRTA) provides paratransit services to persons age 60 and older and disabled residents of the 40 FRTA member communities. Transportation is provided by 14 contracted transportation operators, ten of which are local Councils on Aging. See Franklin Regional Transportation Authority (FRTA). To use the services elders must apply for demand response transportation. An application can be downloaded from the website from: Franklin Regional Transportation Authority (FRTA).

FRTA provides services to elders in the following communities: Ashfield, Athol, Bernardston, Buckland, Colrain, Blandford, Charlemont, Chester, Chesterfield, Conway, Cummington, Deerfield, Erving, Gill, Goshen, Hawley, Heath, Huntington, Leyden, Middlefield, Montgomery, New Salem, Northfield, Orange, Petersham, Phillipston, Plainfield Rowe, Russell, Shelburne, Shutesbury, Southampton, Southwick, Warwick, Wendell, Westhampton, Whately, Worthington.

A list of the service providers who serve each community and their contact information are available at Franklin Regional Transportation Authority (FRTA).

Greater Attleboro/Taunton Regional Transit Authority (GATRA) provides paratransit services for people with disabilities of all ages unable to use fixed route services and for persons age 60 and older who are residents of Attleboro, Berkeley, Carver, Dighton, Kingston, Lakeville, Mansfield, Middleborough, North Attleboro, Norton, Plainville, Plymouth, Raynham, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Taunton, and Wareham. GATRA issues the ADA and Statewide Senior Access passes for use on fixed route services provided by GATRA and other regional transit authorities. See Greater Attleboro/Taunton Regional Transit Authority (GATRA), or call 508-226-1102.

Greenfield Montague Transportation Area (GMTA) provides paratransit service to persons age 60 years and older and disabled residents of the towns of Greenfield and Montague. Contact GMTA for information about enrolling and how to use the service. Greenfield Montague Transportation Area (GMTA). Call 413-774-5195 for information. Requests for service must be made 24 hours in advance by calling 413-773-8090, Ext. 204 & 205.

Lowell Regional Transit Authority (LRTA) provides "Road Runner ADA Paratransit Service" for persons who are unable to use the LRTA fixed-route bus service, and for residents age 60 years and older from Acton, Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Groton, Lowell, Pepperell, Tewksbury, Townsend and Westford. Applications can be downloaded from the website at Lowell Regional Transit Authority (LRTA). Call 978-459-0152 to have an application mailed or for information about how to use the service. On Wednesdays Road Runner Service goes to the Lahey Clinic in Burlington and to Boston area hospitals for residents of Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Lowell, Tewksbury and Acton. LRTA can also arrange specialized transportation service for residents of LRTA service area nursing homes for trips and special events. For details call 978- 459-0152.

Martha's Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA) for information on available paratransit services, see Martha's Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA), or call 508-693-9440

Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority (MVRTA) serves the following communities: Amesbury, Andover, Haverhill, Newburyport, Lawrence, Methuen, Merrimac, and North Andover. Paratransit services are provided to persons age 60 years and older and persons with disabilities eligible under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) who are requesting service beyond the three-quarter mile corridor on each side of an MVRTA fixed bus route. Participants must be certified through the MVRTA Office of Special Services. See Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority (MVRTA) or call 978-469-1251. For more information about paratransit services provided call 978-469-6878 or e-mail specialservices@mvrta.com.

Montachusett Regional Transit Authority (MART) provides a subscription transportation service, links to commuter rail stations, and Councils On Aging service to communities served by MART for seniors and residents with disabilities eligible under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The cost of service varies by community. See Montachusett Regional Transit Authority (MART), or call 978-345-7711. To schedule service, contact your Council on Aging. MART Shuttle Service to medical facilities in Worcester and Boston is available to veterans, the elderly and persons with disabilities on Mondays through Fridays. The fare to Worcester is $15 round trip and $20 round trip to Boston. Service is also available to the general public at a reduced fare on a seats available basis. For more information call 978-353-0333 or 1-800-854-9928, and press 2 for the facilities served and schedules.

Veterans who reside in Fitchburg or Leominster can ride at no charge through an agreement between MART and the two cities. In order to use the complimentary service, veterans must schedule 24 hours in advance.

Nantucket Regional Transit Authority (NRTA) provides paratransit service for eligible persons age 60 years and older and Nantucket residents with disabilities. Go to Nantucket Regional Transit Authority (NRTA) , or call 508-325-7516 for information about "Your Island Ride."

Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) provides transportation services to communities from Hampshire and Franklin Counties in the north and Hampden County in a southern tier. Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA), 413-732-6248. Van service is available for people unable to use the bus due to a disability. Completion of an American with Disabilities Act (ADA) application is required to use this service. Applications may be requested by submitting an e-mail to hart@pvta.com or by calling 413-734-1040 or 800.752.1638. PVTA funds door-to-door, accessible van service to elderly and/or disabled individuals throughout 23 PVTA communities. Contact the following providers for information about using services provided in your community:

Southeastern Regional Transit Authority (SRTA) provides both accessible door-to-door van service to persons eligible under ADA guidelines and issues reduced fare passes for service on its fixed route buses to persons with disabilities and persons age 65 and older. See Southeastern Regional Transit Authority (SRTA). Call 508-997-6767 for information about services available in the following communities: Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Fall River, Freetown, Mattapoisett, New Bedford, Somerset, Swansea, and Westport.

Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA) provides van and cab service to individuals with disabilities, regardless of age, who qualify for service under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Service operates during the same days and hours that bus service operates. It includes:

 Elder Medical Weekday Service for Worcester elders, 60 and over, Monday through Friday, for medically related trips.

 Elder Shopper for Worcester residents 60 and over provides pre-scheduled service to various grocery stores depending on the zip code of the resident. Free registration is required and the ride costs just 50 cents each way. Call 508-752-9283 for registration information.

See THERTA, or call 508-791-2389. For more information, or to apply for service in Worcester call Paratransit Brokerage Services at 508-797-5560, 508-752-9283, or 1-800-499-6384.

WRTA Services beyond Worcester American with Disabilities Act (ADA) eligible riders have no limitations on their trip purposes and can travel whenever and wherever bus service operates. Non-ADA eligible riders can travel between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, but service hours vary slightly by community. To find out more about paratransit services in the towns listed here, see Section 8, Directory of MA Gateway Organizations for the nearest Council on Aging. They can provide paratransit information.

Towns in WRTA service beyond Worcester: Auburn, Barre, Berlin, Clinton, Boylston, Brimfield, Brookfields, Charlton, Douglas, Dudley, Grafton, Holden, Holland, Leicester, Marlboro, Millbury, New Braintree, Northboro, Oakham, Oxford, Princeton, Rutland, Shrewsbury, Southboro, Southbridge, Spencer, Sturbridge, Sutton, Wales, Warren, Webster, Westborough, and West Boylston.

In addition, a few communities in the greater Boston area have additional transportation services for seniors. These include:

Boston Senior Transportation Services. Information on these services can be found on the City of Boston's website: Boston Senior Transportation Services.

 Senior Shuttle provides free transportation within the City of Boston to non-emergency medical appointments, food shopping, social and recreational events. Call 617-635-3000.

 Taxi Discount Program. Boston residents age 65 or older can purchase half price taxi coupon books at Boston City Hall, Room 271. Home-bound seniors may purchase coupons from Community Service Advocates or at community centers.

 Kit Clark Program provides door-to-door service to its program sites for adult day health, memory loss, congregate nutrition, recreation programs. Their lift-equipped vans also provide shuttle service between home and doctor's appointments at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Bowdoin Street Health Center, Little House Health Center, and the Kit Clark/Bowdoin Street Senior Health Center. Call 617-825-500 or go to: Kit Clark Senior Services.

Brookline Elder Bus provided by the Brookline Council on Aging, 617-730-2777.

Brookline Elder Taxi System provides a 50% discount on cabs for low-to-moderate income Brookline residents, 617-730-2740.

Cambridge Taxi Discount Program for persons age 60 or over or individuals with a disability. Residents age 60 or over can register for the program by calling 617-349-6220 or (TTY/TDD) 617-349-6054. Persons with disabilities (of any age) can register for the program by calling the Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities at 617-349-4692. Eligibility is based on proof of residency and disability. Information about the Taxi Discount Program can also be found at Cambridge MASS.GOV > Human Services Programs > Persons with Disabilities > Transportation Assistance > Taxi Discount.

Newton Department of Senior Service includes a Shoppers' Bus and transportation to Medical Appointments within the City of Newton. For reservations call 617-796-1288. Newton Department of Senior Service.

SCM (Somerville, Cambridge and Medford) Community Transportation provides transportation primarily to residents of Somerville, Cambridge and Medford, but some services are provided to surrounding communities. ( SCM [Somerville, Cambridge and Medford] Community Transportation). A set number of free trips to medical appointments and food shopping are subsidized by local municipalities and Councils on Aging. Additionally, private pay services are available for individuals and special group trips. Children of seniors can set up pre-paid accounts for their parents as well. For more information or to schedule a ride, call 617-625-1191.

Other transportation services and discount taxi programs may be available in your community. To find out, contact your local Council on Aging or ASAP. See the Directory MA of Gateway Organizations, Section 8, for contact information near you.

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