Is There Free Transportation for the Elderly in Washington?

Nonprofit senior transportation programs are community-based services that offer door-to-door rides for seniors to medical appointments. These programs are often funded by local government and private donors.

They provide a reliable transportation alternative for seniors who cannot use the fixed-route public bus system. However, the need to walk to and from buses or trains and adhere to strict schedules can make this option unsuitable for many elderly adults.


Across the country, many seniors and people with disabilities depend on transportation services for their daily trips. These transportation services can range from public buses that travel fixed routes to paratransit (public) or dial-a-ride (private) options. These options can help you stay involved with your community. However, you should remember that not all transportation providers have the same accessibility features. For example, ride-share apps may have accessible vehicles but do not offer door-to-door service for those with a disability or a significant limitation on mobility.

In the six years leading up to 2010, Metro Access’s costs nearly doubled as cash-strapped non-profit groups cut their own transportation services, directing more people to its service. Metro boosted its fares and tightened screening for who qualifies for its paratransit service to cope with the cost increase. In addition, it started better educating people with disabilities on other options and teaching them how to use alternative forms of transportation.

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires transit agencies to provide complementary paratransit service for those who cannot use the regular bus or rail system. Complimentary paratransit can include everything from taxi-like service to minibusses that follow a scheduled schedule to on-demand micro-transit operations routed in real-time. Regardless of what it is called, this type of service is an important component of a well-functioning transit landscape.

The ADA defines a trip as a journey that starts and ends within the transit agency’s service area. A person can request a trip for any purpose, including work, school, social activities, shopping, and medical appointments. By law, the transit agency may not prioritize one trip purpose over another. In addition, a person who has a personal care attendant (PCA) may ride at no charge on a complementary paratransit trip.


Door-to-Door is a service provided by Para-Transit, which allows seniors and people with disabilities to receive transportation from their homes. It also helps them connect with social services, employment opportunities, and other community resources. This service is free for those who qualify. It is available for a limited number of individuals each day, so it is important to apply early.

A door-to-door salesperson calls on residents of a neighborhood or town to sell goods or services. The practice is common for peddlers, door-to-door solicitors, and temporary merchants, including religious groups such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists. In the United States, a city or town may regulate peddlers, solicitors, and temporary merchants by licensing them and imposing reasonable license fees. However, an ordinance that totally prohibits door-to-door solicitation is likely unconstitutional unless it can be justified as necessary for the protection of public health, safety, and welfare.

Door-to-Door is also a term used to describe the delivery of a package from a store or business to a residence. The service is offered by some companies, such as UPS and FedEx.


Taxes are an excellent option if you are a tourist in Washington, DC, or just need to get to the airport on time. You can hail them by standing on the street and raising your arm, or you can go to one of the many designated taxi ranks throughout the city. The city has more than 6,000 licensed taxicabs, and you can book your ride by phone. The fare is based on distance traveled, starting with a base fare of $3 and then increasing by 25 cents per 1/6 mile. You can also be charged for waiting in stopped traffic, which can add up quickly.

You can also use the Uber app to request rides from private-hire drivers. This on-demand service can save you money and eliminate the need for a car, making it a good option for people with disabilities. You can even schedule trips in advance. The app lets you connect with a driver at any time of day or night, and it is available on all major smartphones.

Taxis are a popular form of transportation in Washington, with an estimated 10,000 taxis operating throughout the country. Some have special features for disabled passengers, such as ramps and wheelchair access. They are usually well-maintained and safe; some have TVs and a DVD player. Most have a credit card reader for easy payment. Taxis are generally regulated, with restrictions on market entry and pricing. Some communities are implementing regulatory reforms to increase competition and lower prices.

Radio Cab provides curb-to-curb and door-to-door shared taxi services for residents in the western part of Washington County, including the cities of West Bend and Menomonee Falls. The service covers the surrounding area and Gresham and Hillsboro in Oregon.

Nonprofit Ride Services

Nonprofit ride services can help seniors stay active in their communities by providing safe and reliable transportation options. These programs can include door-to-door rides, group rides, and wheelchair-accessible vehicles. They can also be used to get to medical appointments and social engagements. Nonprofit organizations may offer these services as a part of their services or as a way to connect with other community members.

Using ride-hailing services for nonprofit service delivery can have benefits but also requires significant staff time and resources to manage. In a recent study, University of Oregon graduate research associate Miranda Menard and I interviewed ten nonprofit organization leaders and ten clients. We conducted these interviews in Seattle, Washington, which is known as a leader in the use of TNCs and other innovative transport technologies.

Our findings showed that while TNCs can provide much-needed mobility to seniors who do not have access to other forms of transportation, they require intensive nonprofit staff coordination. This includes helping clients purchase and manage ride-hailing services, assisting them with payment and billing issues, and coordinating client transportation needs with other service providers.

To improve these outcomes, nonprofits need to work together and advocate for policies that support their clients’ use of ride-hailing services. This could include expanding grant funding from government agencies to cover the costs of TNC rides for underserved clients. Additionally, nonprofit managers should communicate their clients’ transportation needs to private foundations in order to encourage philanthropy that can support TNC costs. These changes can make a big difference in how many people are able to access the nonprofit services they need. This is especially true in marginalized communities, like those with low incomes and a lack of access to public transit services.


Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft provide an on-demand option for people who need a way to get around without a vehicle. These services pick up passengers who request service through a smartphone app and then pay for the trip using a credit card linked to their account. These services offer flexibility that traditional taxis don’t, such as the ability to stop at a busy intersection or make a pit stop along the way.

These services are available 24/7, so people can use them at any time of day or night. They also offer more options than taxis, such as choosing a ride-sharing partner or requesting a wheelchair-accessible vehicle. However, these services are not suitable for everyone. They can be expensive, and they can be dangerous if you’re not familiar with how to use them.

In addition to providing convenience, ride-hailing companies help keep congestion low by offering a flexible alternative to taxis and private vehicles. But they’re not a complete solution to traffic problems. They also contribute to pollution and congestion by requiring drivers to spend more time on the road and increasing the number of cars on the streets.

While a small share of Americans (just under 3%) regularly use ride-hailing, certain groups — such as urban college graduates and high-income people living in cities — utilize them at much higher rates than others. And they tend to have liberal political leanings: Roughly two-thirds of ride-hailing users identify as Democrats, while only 30% identify as Republicans. And they’re much more likely than the general population to believe that ride-hailing should be free of many of the same regulations as incumbent providers.