For more than thirty years, urban transit systems have been required to provide half-price non-peak fares for "elderly and handicapped" people. Senior discounts, however, are usually more than the mandated 50 percent reduction. In Pennsylvania, seniors 65 and older ride free. In Houston, Texas, persons age 62-69 get a more than 50 percent discount, and persons 70 and older ride free.
- Eligibility: age and cost Sixty-five is usually the age when eligibility begins, but some systems begin eligibility at sixty-two. Most systems require a senior to obtain an ID card or special pass. Some recognize a Medicare card. Usually, area residency is a requirement. For many there is a filing fee; and, for some, a renewal fee.
- Limitations on use: There are usually a variety of limitations on transportation services within a system and on transfers to other systems. The limitations are sometimes straightforward, e.g., cannot use from 7-8 a.m. and 4:30-5:30 p.m. Sometimes, however, they are complicated. For instance, a senior may need a special coupon in addition to her/his Senior ID card to ride a particular bus service.
- Other fare discounts may well be a better bargain for a senior, depending on her/his transportation needs. For instance, a pass, (monthly, commuter, frequent rider, employer-provided pass) or ride share program, may provide greater savings to seniors who travel frequently, especially during rush hours. A disability or student pass may have fewer limitations.
Finding out about senior fares: Customer Service and Websites
- Websites usually list basic information about senior fares and other discounts under Reduced Fares or similar words on their website. For further information such as eligibility, terms and conditions, and how and where to obtain, the reader is directed to click to other locations on the site.
- Customer Service by telephone is also available and is useful when a person has questions about specific trips For example: Can I use the pass on the express bus? Can I use the discount to transfer to the county bus?