Santa Maria Valley Senior Transportation Options By Nancy Crawford and Nicole Evans
August 1, 2023
As our population ages, ensuring the well-being and independence of senior citizens becomes increasingly important. One key aspect to address is access to transportation, which plays a vital role in maintaining their quality of life. The importance of a multimodal transportation system cannot be overstated, it enables seniors to choose what service options meets their needs and allows them the freedom to attend essential medical appointments, visit family and friends, participate in social activities, or simply run errands without relying on others for assistance. By investing the various transportation services, we empower our elderly population to remain active members of society. In this article, we will explore the options available to seniors in Santa Maria Valley.
Public Transit: Santa Maria has many different senior transportation options through the city's public transit system, such as Santa Maria Regional Transit (SMRT) and Dial-a-Ride. SMRT is a fare-based fixed route bus system serving the Santa Maria area since 1978. Seniors can utilize this service by purchasing a pass at one of six locations throughout the city. Fares range from .75 cents a ride to $15.00 for a 31-day pass. Seniors 60+ receive a discounted fare. To find out more information and the routes that SMRT offers, click the link here.
Another public transit option is the Senior Dial-a-Ride service through SMOOTH transportation which provides origin-to-destination transportation for seniors 60+ in the Santa Maria and Orcutt area. For seniors to use this service, simply call SMOOTH at (805) 922-8476 to schedule their ride a week in advance. This service is available Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. There is no limit as to how many trips per day or month you can use their services and the cost for their services is $2.00 per ride which seniors pay in cash at the time of the ride. To learn more about these services, click here. Public transit options are limited to local service only.
Volunteer Transportation: Local volunteer groups are always a great community resource for seniors. Community Partners in Caring (CPIC) is a local non-profit that helps seniors 62+ with transportation assistance to medical appointments, grocery stores, prescription pickup, and social events. Services are available Monday-Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and seniors are limited to 3 trips a week and have limited availability for out-of-area trips to medical appointments. You can either call the office at (805) 925-8000 to set up transportation or go to their website here and fill out a form.
Rideshare: Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are also available in Santa Maria and can be a convenient transportation option for seniors who are able to use them. These services are beneficial for seniors who are very tech-savvy and do not require any type of assistance. An average trip cost to go from Orcutt to Santa Maria is around $25.00. Seniors can download the Uber or Lyft app to start requesting trips right away. However, there is not a live operator to help you over the phone with any issues.
Private Transportation: Another option for seniors is non-emergency medical transportation or private transportation services with local companies like Care Connection Transport Services. Care Connection offers assisted ‘door-through-door’ transportation services for seniors throughout Northern Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County and can offer same-day local and long-distance service. From doctor’s appointments to hospital discharges to family gatherings, private companies like Care Connection can develop programs and services to meet the specific needs of seniors. Pricing varies depending on the level of assistance needed and the distance of the transport. Care Connection has an exclusive Senior Ride Plan for seniors that offers a subscription-based transportation program that allows seniors to budget ahead and save on rides throughout the month. This program complements the other local transportation options while guaranteeing seniors a ride when they really need it. Seniors can sign-up and schedule rides online, through their app, or by calling their local office. To learn more about the Senior Ride Plan, click here or call one of their friendly care coordinators at (805) 934-0592. Ask about their August Special to get a 5th ride free or use coupon code #5thridefree.
Ensuring senior citizens have accessible and affordable transportation options is crucial for their overall well-being, independence, and social engagement. By addressing the challenges faced by seniors in transportation and implementing innovative solutions, such initiatives will not only benefit seniors but also contribute to building a more vibrant and connected community for all residents.