Pace bus service for seniors
Senior transportation services are becoming more sought-after and popular as a large portion of the population, namely Baby Boomers, continues to age and retire. We see no signs of this ‘Silver Tsunami’ phenomenon slowing down any time soon, which begs the question, “How can we create more adaptable and livable communities for our seniors so they can age in place?”
With the creation of the PACE program (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) under Medicare and Medicaid, PACE organizations are focused on helping elders remain active in their communities for as long as possible and thus focus on preventative care.
PACE organizations provide all medically-necessary transportation to the PACE center for activities or medical appointments, as well as transportation to medical appointments throughout the community. Most paratransit vehicles also help create a more adaptable and livable community for elders because they can accommodate a variety of mobility needs.
Why are PACE Transportation Services Critical for Seniors?
The goal of PACE is to create a more adaptable and livable community for our aging population. Seniors can become isolated and can lose their independence as well. To prevent this, being able to provide demand-response transportation services to help them get around and still do the things they want and need conveniently is critical to their overall well-being and is the main benefit that can be seen with PACE transportation services.
Frequent use of traditional transportation services can also get expensive for retired seniors living off of a fixed-income. Depending on whether they have Medicaid or Medicare, they may or may not have to pay a monthly premium and if they do, it comes at a reduced rate, adding an additional benefit for seniors.
How Can We Improve PACE Transportation Services for Seniors?
It’s not enough to simply get these riders from point A to point B. On-time performance, rides per hour, and overall on-board experience should be taken into consideration. PACE agencies can benefit from implementing route optimization software to ensure rides are being scheduled and dispatched appropriately, the best routes are taken to ensure less time on-board for riders and better on-time performance from pick-up to drop-off is achieved for important medical appointments that can’t be missed. The overall experience should be as convenient and seamless as possible for senior riders. For more ideas on how to improve transportation for seniors, check out out our blog, "5 Most Needed Fixes Your Transit Agency Can Make to Help Seniors".
As we continue to see shifting demographics, the need for safe and comfortable transportation options for seniors will become even more necessary. PACE agencies must determine how they can continue to best serve their senior customers to keep them connected and thriving in the community.
About the Author
Read Ecolane's blog articles for perspective, opinion and information on transit and paratransit issues.