Give seniors free transit, experts say

Many states and provinces require drivers licenses be renewed when drivers reach 80 years old, to ensure that they continue to drive safely. A new report, however, suggests that seniors would be better off if they didn’t drive, and instead took public transit.

As reported on, recent research in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health has found that when municipalities give seniors free transit passes, it tends to help seniors stay active and healthy. One study from England found that distributing free transit passes reduced the level of obesity among seniors by 25%, as well as increasing their social interaction and overall activity levels.

“Free local bus travel is a life line for many in later life,” Michelle Mitchell from Age UK told the website. “All of this helps to tackle social isolation.”

And giving away free transit passes benefits more than just the senior recipients. Mitchell said transit can make seniors active and healthier, and in turn, ease the burden on the medical system.

Free transit “reduces costs for public services, because it provides the chance for older people to stay independent and active," she told WebMD.

When seniors are healthy and active, they can remain many more years at home before moving into an assisted living community.