You need transportation in order to be involved in community life and to get to medical appointments and other services. Public transportation is available in many communities in Massachusetts. Specialized transportation services for seniors, people with disabilities, and others are also available across Massachusetts. The tips below can help you find the transportation you need.
These local officials and organizations may be able to help you if you contact them:
- Your local transit authority
- How? Find your transit authority.
- Why? Transit authorities provide public transportation services, including specialized services for people with disabilities. Some also sponsor shuttles to hospitals or have a Mobility Manager on staff to help riders arrange their travel. Some offer travel instruction programs to help you learn how to ride the bus, pay the fare, and use the system.
- Your City Hall or Town Hall
- How? Start with your town’s Council on Aging. You can also try other departments such as constituent services, transportation departments, senior services, veterans services, or disability services. Find your city or town's website.
- Why? Cities and towns often collect information about local transportation options. Many Councils on Aging transport not only seniors, but also people with disabilities and sometimes the general public. Some manage volunteer driver programs.
- Other service providers
- How? If you receive state or federal benefits or participate in social service programs, ask if program staff have information about transportation options, or if the program has any funding to help you cover costs.
- Why? Public programs such as Head Start or TAFDC and community-based organizations sometimes offer their own transportation benefits or resources. If you are eligible for MassHealth and have no other way to get to medical appointments, ask your doctor to request transportation for you.
These resources can help you find transportation services in your region:
- North Shore
- Travel counseling: call 1-888-499-5324 to discuss your transportation needs
- Southeastern MA
- Cape and Islands
- Greater Boston
- Western Mass
- MassRides is a statewide service that will help you arrange your commute to work. Visit www.commute.com or call them at 888-4COMMUTE.
- Mass211 has information about transportation and other services statewide. Call 2-1-1 or visit mass211.org.
- Regional Planning Agencies serve each region. Staff members are knowledgeable about community transportation services. Find your local planning agency here.
- Regional Elder Services: call 1-800-AGE-INFO or click here to find contact information for regional senior services.
Shared ride resources
- MassRIDES offers information about travel options including carpooling and vanpooling.
- Ride Buzz is a non-profit ridesharing program based in the Pioneer Valley. Sign up to take a passenger or request a ride.
- Taxis can help you get around town or get from the bus stop to your final destination. Some cities and towns offer taxi vouchers to help seniors and people with disabilities afford the fares.
- Wheelchair-accessible taxis are available in some cities and towns, such as Cambridge. For more information or to reserve a ride on a Cambridge taxi, call 1-866-654-1003.
- Accessible transportation that is comparable to taxi service is available in Cape Cod. Riders may not hail vehicles on the street. To make a reservation or to get more information about Cape Cod Accessible Transportation, please call (508) 746-5715.
- Volunteer drivers help seniors and people with disabilities get to medical appointments and other important destinations. If you own a car, consider volunteering as a driver.
- Car Loans and Car Ownership Programs – If you need a car but have trouble affording the cost or have low credit, you may be eligible for assistance from a program:
- Good News Garage – provides refurbished, donated vehicles to eligible Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission consumers who otherwise could not afford to purchase their own. This program is run through a partnership between the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and Lutheran Social Services. Also accepts donations of vehicles.
- More Than Wheels – helps people in New England get the best deal on a reliable and fuel-efficient car by negotiating with dealers to secure the lowest price, working with banks to provide the lowest interest rate available, and offering personal financial education. The program also offers temporary cars to program participants who need a car to maintain employment while purchasing their own vehicle. More Than Wheels also accepts vehicle donations.
- For general information about car loans and car ownership programs, visit Working Cars for Working Families or Wider Opportunities for Women.
- Carsharing is an option for people who need to drive sometimes, but not regularly enough to justify owning a car. Carshare members can rent cars by the hour or by the day. Carsharing companies operating in Massachusetts include:
- Resources for mature drivers from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles can help you learn about warning signs of unsafe driving, find a driving evaluation near you, or request a safe driving workshop
- Strategies for making sure you have transportation when you are looking for work. Many of these strategies can also be adapted to other situations.
- Trip planners are online tools that let you enter your place of origin and your destination and then give you options for how to get there.
- Google offers directions based on whether you are driving, taking public transit, walking, or biking. Click “get directions” and then click one of the icons to specify by car, by transit, walking, or biking. Google’s database includes public transit routes for most but not all transit systems in Massachusetts. Google does not include demand-response or paratransit services, so these options will not show up in your search results.
- Ride Match is a tool for seniors, people with disabilities, or anyone needing to travel in Southeastern Massachusetts and beyond. Riders can also specify accommodations required if they choose.
- The MBTA trip planner may be of help if you are riding public transit in Greater Boston.
- Print this one-page document to help others find rides: For Consumers
This information is provided by the EOHHS Human Service Transportation Office