There may be times when friends, family and neighbours are unable to help out. While transport can be part of a government funded home care package, there is also a range of free or subsidised transport options available through a variety of outlets.
Throughout Australia, there is a wide range of not-for-profit, charity, religious, cultural and community groups providing free or low-cost transport assistance for older people.
As well as local organisations providing services, such as your local church, Rotary or Kiwanis, many states have their own initiatives such as the Community Transport Program in New South Wales and the Queensland Government’s Community Transport Scheme. St John Community Transport Service operates on a national level.
Many of these schemes are government subsidised and staffed by volunteer drivers, however, you may have to pay a small contribution towards the scheme.
Local Councils frequently offer transport in two forms:
• Community buses
Council community buses usually operate on a weekly basis with many offering the convenience of door to door pickup and drop-off. As well as taking residents to shopping centres, many council-run community buses visit other services and activities, such as libraries and senior's clubs and groups.
There is usually a nominal a minimal charge for using the community bus which may vary depending on where it is going.
• Personal Transport
Some councils offer personal transport for medical, wellbeing and other essential appointments. Council transport programs are usually administered a council-paid coordinator, with the driving service provided by volunteers. In some cases Council will approve certain contractors or taxi companies to carry out the service.
Once again, there is usually a minimum charge for the service, and fees may vary depending on the distance you are travelling and whether you require a return journey.
State and Territory Governments
• Free or reduced public transport
The Australian Government Pensioner Concession Card will give you access to cheaper public transport rates in all states and territories. Some states and territories even offer pensioners free travel at certain times.
• Taxi subsidy schemes
Many state and territory governments operate a taxi subsidy scheme to help with getting to appointments, socialising and shopping trips, but how much they contribute to the taxi cost will vary depending on which state or territory you’re living in.