Whether it’s for medical reasons or to save money, driving is often no longer an option for many seniors. However, not having a car doesn’t mean someone’s independence has to go as well.
There are plenty of ways to save on transport and get the biggest bang for your buck without being limited to expensive taxi rides or relying on family and friends to drive you around. So, here are just a few easy ways to cut transport costs while still holding onto the ability to travel independently!
To accomodate to the needs of many seniors, Brisbane City Council created free off-peak rides for all residents holding a Senior goCard on both bus and ferry services. Off-peak times to collect free rides include Monday to Friday from 8.30am-3.30pm and 7pm-6am for both bus and ferry rides, as well as all day bus services on weekends and public holidays.
Meanwhile, a myki card will give Victorian seniors 50 per cent discount on trains, trams and buses as well as free weekend travel in any two consecutive zones on regional town buses, along with access to a number of free travel vouchers each year.
Those travelling in Sydney can also take advantage of discounts and free rides if they hold a NSW or ACT Pensioner Concession Card or a NSW War Widow/er transport concession card. These cards supply the holder with four free travel vouchers each year to use on any TrainLink regional service travelling in economy class within regional NSW.
While it’s known that ride sharing apps are increasingly becoming more cost-effective than taxis, there is now an even cheaper option that will see you paying the absolute minimum for personal transport. UberPool kicked off in select suburbs in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth earlier this year after its success overseas and involves booking a ride that will match you with others heading in your direction.
To avoid detours or getting too far off track, these rides may require a short walk to the location of the car, however thanks to the multiple riders, prices are substantially lower than normal, making it a much easier way to get a door-to-door service minus the excessive expense.
Taxis have begun a number of schemes to help out seniors as well as those with low mobility get around town more independently. Brisbane City Council has Council Cabs which organises free shared taxis at a scheduled time to collect people from their homes in surrounding suburbs and take them to the shops to complete their weekly groceries. A one-way trip will cost anywhere between $1 and $2.50 and simply requires a booking made the day before to secure a seat.
Meanwhile the Taxi Subsidy Scheme is also available almost everywhere and targets those who suffer from a disability which completely rules them out from driving, including those who are wheelchair-dependant, suffer from complete or severe loss of vision, have restrictions on walking, seizures or intellectual disabilities such as dementia. The scheme pays half of every taxi ride up to a maximum fare of $50, and with no limit on the amount of rides taken, it becomes a fairly good way to save a few bucks on getting around town.
Most people aren’t aware that free services run quite often in city centres, which means a day to explore the city or run to appointments could be made a bit easier. Brisbane offers free city cycles on the 30, 40 and 50 bus routes on weekdays.
Meanwhile, Melbourne’s city centre offers a free tram service known as route 35 which is often quite packed due to it’s collection of tourists – however is also incredibly handy if you’re travelling between locations in the city. While on the west coast, Perth’s Free Transit Zones (FTZ) allow’s people to take a free bus ride anywhere within the zone.
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services advice.