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Public Transportation Senior Discounts
Date: August 29, 2008
Author: David Smidt, SeniorDiscounts

Since the price of gas has gone up so much this past summer, many of us have sought alternatives to driving to get around. Instead of filling up vehicles for twice what we used to pay, we have turned to walking, biking and the public transportation systems. If you are currently using the bus or train to cut your transportation spending, don’t forget to claim that senior discount.

Types of Public Transportation Discounts:
Discounts on public transportation are not limited to buses and subways. While both of these modes of transit most definitely offer senior discounts, you can also find reduced fares on trains (both local and regional), ferries (and other water transport), and at times even taxicabs.

Discounts on taxis can be difficult to come by. They are usually offered through local departments on aging for low-income seniors, or by senior centers and organizations that help disabled, homebound or economically challenged seniors. Typically these discount fares are only good for rides to and from doctor’s visits or other need-based appointments.

Discount Amounts:
Generally speaking, public transportation is a fairly economical form of travel, but when you add in the senior discount, it gets a whole lot better. Discounts usually start at about 50% of the regular adult fare and go up from there. Many cities, like Chicago, even offer free transportation to all senior citizens. This can be a huge savings over a year’s worth of travel.

Age Requirements:
While public transportation discounts can be very significant, their age requirements are usually higher than other types of senior discounts. The standard seems to be around 62 years of age or older with some beginning at age 60 and others not until 65. There are always those few that slip in at 50-55 years of age, so be on the lookout.

Also, many transit departments will provide the reduced senior fare to the disabled or those on Medicare regardless of age.

Locating Public Transportation Discounts:
Virtually all transit departments now have web sites that are easy to locate and navigate. They should include all of their fare information, including senior fares. If you cannot access the Internet, try calling your city’s information line to reach the local transportation departments.

Below, we have listed some examples of public transportation discounts in major cities around the United States.

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)
Toll Free: (888) 968-7282
Business Description: The nation's second largest public transportation system provides rail, bus, and other transportation information for travel around Chicago.
Discount: Seniors living in the RTA service region are eligible for free transit on fixed routes operated by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), METRA and PACE.
Age Requirement: 65+
Discount Restrictions: To take advantage of the free transit, seniors must have the senior reduced fare card. Visit the website for registration information.
E-mail: ctahelp@transitchicago.com
Website: www.transitchicago.com

San Diego Metropolitan Transit System
Phone: (619) 238-0100
Business Description: San Diego Metropolitan Transit System serves about 570 square miles of the urbanized areas of San Diego County, as well as rural parts of East County.
Discount: Senior (and disabled) cash fare - $1.00 for Bus and Trolley. NCTD Senior/Disabled fare is $0.75. Senior and disabled Ready Pass - $14.00. It's the same for Local and Express Buses, and for the Trolley. CTS Paratransit fare: $3.50. MTS ACCESS fare: $4.50. MTS ACCESS fare includes transfers to the Bus, Trolley, and other transit operators.
Age Requirement: 60+
Discount Restrictions: Please show your identification to the bus driver when requested as you pay exact fare, or to the Trolley Code Compliance or security officer when requested. For details about ID's, visit their website.
Website: www.sdmts.com

Phoenix - Valley Metro RPTA
Phone: (602) 262-7433
Business Description: Valley Metro provides transportation solutions for the greater Phoenix Metro Area.
Discount: Save about 50% off regular adult fare on all bus and rail services
Age Requirement: 65+
Discount Restrictions: Any photo ID showing an individual’s age is acceptable proof of age for seniors. Medicare cards are accepted for seniors and persons with disabilities. The Valley Metro Reduced-Fare Identification Card is available for $2.50. Call (602) 253-5000 or TTY at (602) 261-8208 for information on how to get your card.
Website: www.valleymetro.org

Houston METRO - Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County
Phone: (713) 635-4000
Business Description: METRO serves the cities of Houston, Bellaire, Bunker Hill Village, El Lago, Hedwig Village, Hilshire Village, Humble, Hunters Creek, Katy, Missouri City, Piney Point, Southside Place, Spring Valley, Taylor Lake Village and West University Place. Major portions of unincorporated Harris County are also included.
Discount: Seniors 65-69 years of age receive a 50% discount with the METRO Q Card. Seniors 70 and older ride free.
Age Requirement: 65+
Discount Restrictions: For seniors 70 or older, rides are free with the 70+ Lifetime METRO Q Fare Card, which is available at the RideStores.
E-mail: rr02@ridemetro.org
Website: www.ridemetro.org

MTA - New York City Transit
Phone: (212) 638-7622
Business Description: MTA serves a population of 14.6 million people in the 5,000-square-mile area from New York City to Long Island, southeastern New York State, and Connecticut.
Discount: Receive 50% off regular adult fare with a Reduced-Fare MetroCard. Purchase at subway station booths, metrocard vending machines, metrocard buses and vans, and neighborhood merchants.
Age Requirement: 65+
Discount Restrictions: Reduced-Fare MetroCard is good on MTA New York City Transit subways and local buses, MTA Bus, NYC Transit and MTA Bus express buses offer reduced fares during non-rush hours only, MTA Long Island Bus, MTA Long Island Rail Road and the MTA Metro-North Railroad anytime except weekday rush hours to New York City terminals.
Website: www.mta.nyc.ny.us

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