Earning a driver’s license is often referred to as a right of passage or privilege. So, it’s no wonder that the loss of a driver’s license can feel like a blow to senior’s independence and freedom. Over many years, driving becomes an integral part of their everyday lives as getting to a friend’s house, the grocery store, a doctor’s appointment, and most social activities depends on access to transportation.
Seniors are more slightly more likely to live in areas outside urban areas, making it harder to access health care and social services. Of those seniors, a large proportion do not use public transit due to lack of services in their area. If any, public transit is usually aimed to meet the needs of individuals in the workforce. Seniors using mobility aids may be unable or unsure how to use public transit, forcing seniors out of their communities and into residential care away from friends and families, leading to further isolation and immobility.
Now more than ever, it is generally excepted that staying socially active is a part of successful and healthy aging. As seniors retire from the workforce, many become active members in their communities and to do so, some form of transportation is needed. According to Statistics Canada, insufficient access to public transit can act as a barrier to social participation. Access to transit was cited as the second most common reason (after health issues) for not participating in regular social, recreational, and cultural activities. Particularly, older senior women who have lost their license are more likely than men to be restricted in their day-to-day activities due to factors such as: they are passengers who do not posses a license, or they had to use public transit.
The decision to surrender or the act of losing a driver’s license should not be taken lightly, due to the dramatic impact on senior’s lives with lasting emotional and physical consequences. This loss can lead to decreased mental health and substantial physical inactivity.
If you have lost your license, how do you maintain the life you are used to living? In Victoria, there are options for seniors!
Public Transit: If you are aged 65 or over, you are eligible for a seniors discount on public transit by showing your BC CareCard or Services Card when you pay.
Community Travel Training Program: Provides free personalized training for seniors who would like to use public transit regularly. A bus will be brought to the nearest accessible stop closest to your home. A BC Transit worker will show you how to use it until you feel comfortable on your own.
Call: (250) 384-7723
Email: email@example.com to arrange a session.
HandyDART: If you have a disability or use a mobility aid, BC Transit has specially equipped vehicles that provide door-to-door service.
Call: (604) 575-6600 to book a ride.
Travel Assistance Program: Can alleviate some costs of transportation for seniors who have to travel within BC for non-emergency medical specialist appointments.
Taxi Saver: If HandyDART is not available, Taxi Saver vouchers can be used for one time trips. These are for permanent HandyDART members only.