A study conducted by the University of Michigan, Case Western Reserve University, and Duke University analyzed the short and long-term effects driving had on the emotional health of almost 7,000 eligible drivers aged 65 and older. They found that nondrivers were twice as likely to be in a higher social isolation category compared to active drivers. Further, 79% of the total participants experienced at least some level of isolation, and isolation increased significantly as soon as seniors stopped driving and persisted long-term in the years following. 

Fortunately, there are transportation options available that can help your loved one avoid these feelings and remain connected to their family, friends, and communities as well as access recreational and essential services when they no longer drive. 

Public Transportation for Seniors 

Public transportation is a good option for seniors in good health and who can adhere to set schedules. Mobility is important to take advantage of this option because riders often need to maneuver to and between stops to pick up or catch a connecting ride. They will also have to be able to interpret schedules that indicate when and where they can get a ride. 

Even on the most limited budget, seniors can benefit from the low cost of public transportation compared to private, typically more expensive alternative options. To ensure a successful ride, consider doing a run-through of the routes they’ll need to take with them or accompany them on their public transportation rides until your loved one gets used to it. 

Pros and Cons of Public Transportation for Seniors 


  • One of the most affordable ways to travel and many offer senior discounts
  • Many larger cities have extensive and reliable public transportation systems
  • Can get places quickly along a set route on a predictable schedule
  • Wheelchair lifts and/or wheelchair-accessible designs should be available on public buses and trains


  • May not be available or operate only on limited schedules in some rural or suburban areas
  • Often require traveling short distances to get to stops or to transfer from one vehicle to another
  • Seniors may need to wait for transport to arrive outside in the elements with or without shelter

Private Transportation Services for Seniors 

Seniors who have unique medical or mobility needs may benefit from door-to-door transportation services provided by private companies, such as SilverRide. These types of rides are similar to taxis, but drivers undergo specialized training and offer additional services intended specifically for seniors and/or those with disabilities. These may include assistance getting from their homes into the vehicle, getting into and out of the vehicle, bag carrying, wheelchair loading, and more. 

Pros and Cons of Private Transportation for Seniors 


  • Additional assistance is available to those with limited mobility so they can exit and enter their homes and the vehicle and have their wheelchair loaded for them
  • Those with medical needs can also be accommodated
  • Rides can be requested on the same day or on an on-demand basis
  • Requesting a ride can be done by phone or through email


  • The added personalization and convenience this option offers comes at a higher cost than most public transportation options
  • These companies generally operate in urban or suburban areas and are unlikely to be an option for those in more rural locations

Rideshare Options for Seniors 

Ridesharing is a convenient option for seniors and allows them to schedule a ride at a place and time of their choosing. It also gives them the option to select accessible vehicles or request specific services. 

While ridesharing companies typically require the use of an app downloaded on a smartphone, seniors who do not have a smartphone or know how to use the company’s app can take advantage of some more senior-friendly options. For example, Uber reservations can be made on a computer. Seniors can also subscribe to services like Arrive Rides or GoGoGrandparent for an additional fee. These services allow them to call a specialist who will help them set up rides with Uber or Lyft over the phone.

Pros and Cons of Ridesharing for Seniors 


  • You can arrange rides on-demand as you need them and based on your own schedule
  • These rides are often more affordable than private transportation services


  • Some companies are more senior-friendly than others and require varying levels of technology
  • It may be difficult to get the vehicle or services you need
  • There may be a wide range of service quality depending on the assigned driver

Senior Transportation FAQs

How old do most seniors stop driving?

The age when seniors stop driving is highly variable depending on the individual. Over the past few decades, drivers have kept their licenses for longer. While 78% of those aged 65 or older had driver’s licenses in 2001, this rose to 89% in 2021. Similarly, while 50% of seniors aged 85 and older held licenses in 2000, this climbed to 59% in 2020. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this trend is expected to continue thanks to greater longevity and advances in medicine, with more Americans driving for longer than ever before. 

How can you tell when it’s time for a senior to stop driving? 

Some ways that you can tell when it’s time for a senior to stop driving include if you notice an increase in traffic violations, vehicle damage, collisions, or the driver getting lost in well-known areas. These red flags indicate unsafe driving practices.