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What seniors told us - about transportation

Public transit works for some seniors, especially those in Burlington. Other seniors have challenges with routes, connections, frequency of service, lack of weekend service and location  of homes and destinations.

“The city buses go right into the grounds of the libraries and the malls and the Seniors Centre ... If one can access the bus, you can basically go anywhere.” (BURLINGTON)

“… previous routes were much more accessible for some people ...” (OAKVILLE)

“… the bus doesn’t necessarily stop near you. You have to find it and it may be a bit of a walk. I have heard people say they have been sort of marginalized or something because the route isn’t near them.” (OAKVILLE)

“… there is no bus that comes up ... I would have to walk to a street ... It’s a long walk and all uphill.” (BURLINGTON)

“… the regular bus was 10 minutes late so I couldn’t get my other bus at the GO train to get to the hospital on time.” (OAKVILLE)

“… there is nothing going directly to the seniors centre. You have to go to the GO station  (first).” (MILTON)

“On the weekend there is no bus …(we) are free (on the ) weekends but can’t go anywhere because there is no bus.” (MILTON DIVERSE)

“I think we need more public transportation.” (HALTON HILLS)

“There are no buses in Acton. I depend on family and friends if I need to go anywhere ” (HALTON HILLS)

Winter and bad weather can cause issues for seniors trying to use public transit.

“…in the winter when it’s raining … no bench, no shelter and right on the corner … why isn’t there at least a shelter there so they can protect themselves.” (OAKVILLE)

“… I remember getting off a bus and standing on the top of the little pile and sliding your way down on to the sidewalk hoping you are not going to break your neck …” (BURLINGTON)

In Burlington and Oakville, transit has some good accessibility features but there is still room for improvement.

“They have the kneeling bus so it is easier to get into it.” (BURLINGTON DIVERSE)

“… You have the transportation that has the step on, step off for wheelchair or people with canes. Also you got the bike racks on them now …” (BURLINGTON)

“The town bus driver will do anything to assist you but you have to ask him to lower the ramp.…” (OAKVILLE)

“If they want to ring the bell, it is so high and difficult to reach because they are not very tall.” (BURLINGTON DIVERSE)

“… some of the GO trains (stations) don’t have accessible stair or travel ways up and down those stairs for seniors. It is ridiculous. They should have escalators on a lot of them. The one at Appleby is just terrible.” (BURLINGTON)

“The transportation at the GO, if you need accessibility at any of our stations, you’ve got a problem … you park in the accessible parking which is over here, then you have to go in to the station to get the ticket, then you have to walk all the way over here because that is where the elevator is and I am talking like a long walk … then you go up in the elevator and up on the platform but the accessible platform part is back sort of where you were in the first place ... for accessibility it’s bad …” (BURLINGTON)

GO is affordable for seniors but not always easy to use.

“GO is great (convenient and  affordable). Station accessibility is an issue” (OAKVILLE)

“GO buses are wonderful and the drivers are the nicest guys in the world and if you are trying to make a connection, they will get you there.” (MILTON)

“The GO train for shopping in Toronto is very nice. It’s $8.20 to go to the centre of Toronto. It’s no problem for parking.” (MILTON DIVERSITY)

“… I take the GO train. My family doctor is in Mississauga and I have to take 3 buses … then I have to walk along the highway to pick up the next one. It is a 30 minute walk…but too busy to walk … can lose about 3 hours …” (OAKVILLE)

Transportation can affect seniors’ sense of community in Halton Hills.

“Most of the people don’t want transportation because they think small town Georgetown will go.” (HALTON HILLS)

“We are all a part of Halton Hills and Halton Hills includes Acton. There is no transportation other than GO bus between here and Acton ... It really isn’t good for intermingling. To me, its one  community and they have never really made us one community.” (HALTON HILLS)

“If there was a bus service, which we desperately need, that would help (with social participation) . We should definitely have a bus to Acton ….” (HALTON HILLS)

Milton and Oakville seniors have concerns about taxis.

“You have to wait quite a while to get a taxi … was late for work.” (MILTON)

“… found the taxi expensive and a pain to get the service.” (MILTON)

“You have to establish with every taxi company that you are a senior. There is a discount but they won’t give it to you unless you establish that with them at the beginning.” (OAKVILLE)

Seniors appreciate specialized transit such as Handi-van, Activan, Car-A-Van, Red Cross and specialized taxis. Some find these services are limited by eligibility requirements, advance notice policies, municipal borders regulations, and mandate.

“… We need a more seamless transition between Oakville and Burlington Handi-van services.”  (BURLINGTON)

“I use the disabled transit bus. They are very obliging … They are very helpful. If they can fit you in, they will. You can use them for shopping and you give them a call and they will pick you up. ” (MILTON)

“I can go to the mall from …to Zellers for $3.00 plus my husband can ride for nothing and I think that is one of the best things the town has done. I buy a ticket and you have to go through the town – Georgetown Taxi. That just started not so long ago. You can get it at night or on weekends.” (HALTON HILLS)

“ … I can not say enough about the Red Cross Transportation Service. The Red Cross Service  was the first to help us and they continue to be the primary support for transportation but sadly they also have limited availability.” (BURLINGTON)

“I use the Care-A-Van but I have to plan ahead as they need 2 days notice …” (OAKVILLE)

“The Activan only goes to Georgetown. It doesn’t go to Milton …” (HALTON HILLS)

“… would like to take Handi-van, but too inconvenient. Given that you must transfer from Burlington to Oakville at transfer point.” (BURLINGTON)

“Very costly to take a taxi to the other end of town. Multiple stops with a taxi not affordable - difficult to run errands.” (HALTON HILLS)

“They have the Red Cross too ... They are a lot more costly and they are very strict on you can’t do this, you can’t do that and they only run between such and such a time. Medical, that is all.” (OAKVILLE)

“… though I sometimes use the Red Cross van, it is not very convenient as I have to give 14  days notice to get a drive. If I’m not well, I can’t wait that long to visit my doctor.”  (BURLINGTON)

“…when you have an appointment, they come a half hour late - past appointment time.”  (HALTON HILLS)

“If you have to get the Handi-van (to medical appointments)

, they drop you off and then you got to wait hours for them to come back and get you.” (BURLINGTON)

The community buses as well as agencies, private businesses, faith communities, friends and neighbours help to fill gaps.

“The ladies in my building take the bus to Metro. They send a bus to pick them up from these building to take them to the grocery store. That’s a wonderful service. (sponsored by a grocery store)” (MILTON)

“There’s a bus that comes on Tuesday from (drug store) . It doesn’t cost anything. It goes to the Legion apartments, goes around by your place…goes up by the cemetery.” (HALTON HILLS)

“We are fortunate to have CASH (Cancer Assistance Service of Halton Hills) . They don’t charge one cent for the person they are taking to Toronto. They are great. It’s a wonderful service.  Quite often the local drivers are seniors.” (MILTON)

“… our parish is very proactive … We have a special group of men you call if you want a ride to church on Sunday morning … you want to go to Hamilton General Hospital … You want to come out on a bad night? We will come and pick you up.” (BURLINGTON)

“You have the ones who do have cars who volunteer to take anybody in an emergency.” (OAKVILLE)

“For me, to get together with my family, I have to get picked up. On my street, not everybody gets together and helps each other…. .” (MILTON)

“It would be nice if there was a van to pick up seniors and bring them to the seniors centre. … I would like to see two electric cars for each of these centres for public use. I’d like to see them donate to each of these centres so that people can just pick up, just like a bicycle. I don’t think we should have to depend on very negative public transportation.” (HALTON HILLS)

The cost of transportation is a concern for some seniors.

“… I could go swimming on the $1.70 senior (bus) ticket. I could take from where I live … to the Centennial Pool, swim and get back again. I even do some shopping in the mall.” (BURLINGTON)

“I had the Care-A-Van ticket. It was only costing me $1.75. (OAKVILLE)

“There’s a good cut rate for GO trains and buses for seniors.” (OAKVILLE)

“... We have a couple of seniors in our building that use public transportation and it is still very difficult. If you are on a fixed income it’s expensive.” (OAKVILLE)

“Taxis for me are just hard. It’s ridiculous the price of taxis but the odd time I do have to take them. They are very expensive.” (OAKVILLE)

  “Feels taxi drivers not as helpful as they could be. … it cost $16. Handicap bus cost $3 each way.” (MILTON)

“Would like to get out more, but cost too much if I have to pay for taxi.” (BURLINGTON)

There are good discounts for seniors. They are not always offered to a senior and many do not know and/or understand them.

“You have to establish with every taxi company that you are a senior. There is a discount but they won’t give it to you unless you establish that with them at the beginning.” (OAKVILLE)

“It’s the same (as taxi) when you get on the GO. I always ask for senior’s discount.” (MILTON)

“But how well is that (two hour transfer) known? You can encourage taking public transport with just that information.” (BURLINGTON)

Driving is becoming increasingly difficult for some seniors because of increased traffic and high speeds. “I was thinking also about safety, traffic. I am terrified to cross the road in front of my house. I have to wait until there is not a car in sight.” (OAKVILLE)

“We are noticing a lot more traffic. Speed is incredible in Oakville.” (OAKVILLE)

“There are a large number of drivers that don’t obey rules of road. They never stop at stop signs, they tailgate, u turns on main street …” (MILTON)

“But consistent speeding, don’t you think they could enforce it? I don’t know. Is it all over Oakville?” (OAKVILLE)

“… as a driver in Burlington, I am frustrated by a lack of stop light synchronization. Its stop and go, stop and go. Just speed up and bam you have to stop. I find Lakeshore to be really dangerous. Too many merges between Brant and Maple.” (BURLINGTON)

“There are traffic issues with quantity of cars but just don’t travel at peak times.” (BURLINGTON)

“Busy - roads are terrible. They rattle your cars to pieces.” (HALTON HILLS)

Seniors have concerns around road signage. “Driving okay – If I stay local, I can cope with traffic. Street signs are alright …” (BURLINGTON)

“Some of the street signs are almost too small. You have to be right on them to see them and that’s even wearing glasses.” (HALTON HILLS)

“I can’t see them (street signs) until I am right up on them then I have to make a quick turn and everybody is honking at me. There isn’t much you can do about it.” (OAKVILLE)

“… you get to a street and you go ok “where am I?” and there’s no signs.” (OAKVILLE)

“I have good eyesight but from a distance I want to see the sign before you are right there. There are some places, I think its Hamilton, there are great big signs. Big letters.” (BURLINGTON)

“… a big tree overhanging the traffic lights. From one way … you can’t see them … I think we have had a lot more foliage that covers signs.” (OAKVILLE)

“… I don’t think there is enough surveillance done to see whether or not signs are covered by tree growth? All of a sudden there is a stop sign and it’s been covered by a tree branch.” (BURLINGTON)

“.. traffic signals and stop signs have been used inappropriately for what they were intended for. Now we have people ignore them… people will come to a stop sign and just go right through it and as far as right hand turns … people just drive right through; therefore, endangering pedestrians...” (OAKVILLE)

Parking spaces and parking costs are concerns for seniors. “Handicapped parking is very handy. .... It’s nice because some places it’s hard to get close to.” (MILTON)

“… because I am a veteran of WW2 I get free parking on any of the city parking lots except the multi-story one …” (BURLINGTON)

“Well my free parking has been the most benefit to me if I have to go to Joseph Brant Hospital, because I can park and walk to the hospital. Otherwise you practically need to take out a bank loan to get out of the parking lot.” (BURLINGTON)

“Parking in the hospitals … I think what they are asking to pay is too much and there should be some system.” (HALTON HILLS)

“When they did the mall, they took away a lot of the parking areas but yet they need more because more people go there.” (HALTON HILLS)

“Underground parking is difficult for seniors. Floor is uneven and elevator along way off, and it is very dark in the parking lot … and handicapped parking spaces are plentiful” (BURLINGTON)

“… people will be backing their vans up to pick up their kid and they are in the handicapped parking… but I wish somebody would come along and …fine these cars …” (BURLINGTON)

“The GO station does not have an area for seniors to park.” (OAKVILLE)

Seniors worry about taking driving tests and transitioning to not driving as it can reduce their independence and cause isolation.

“As people are beginning to think about driving cessation they are not really sure on how to proceed. …. As in, when do you know it’s time? …to do it voluntarily is so much better than to have it yanked … understanding that there are alternative transportation options … and what the financial picture is, here’s what a car really costs to drive and here is what a cab twice a day for the next year would cost you.” (HALTON HILLS)

“Acton is an ideal place to live because we are within 20 minutes of anything you need. That is if you drive … It works fine as long as you can drive. If I lose my license … I am going to have a real problem.” (HALTON HILLS)

“… as you get older, you might lose your license or you have no desire to drive anymore, it should be a greatly reduced day pass for seniors, people past 80. Buses are quite expensive and a lot of people can’t afford them. … there should be consideration to bus passes for free or very small fee …” (BURLINGTON)

“SALT (Seniors and Law-enforcement Together) has … a professional driving instructor and we have done seminars with a group of people who are about to lose their license. … it is a very stressful thing for seniors… They are dependent on someone else. It’s a tremendous loss …” (HALTON HILLS)

“A lot of this depends on if you have a car - if you were driving. Otherwise, you have to miss a lot of things, change your plan and do things more locally… If you have to walk or take a taxi, it is a different story. Driving enables you to still do the things you like to do.” (HALTON HILLS)

“…. pretty soon, as of next week, I might not be able to drive anymore. I haven’t been able to drive in the dark for years. … now we don’t go out for dinner at night with friends. … I don’t know what you do when it’s just the bus everywhere.” (OAKVILLE)

“If I couldn’t drive, my husband would drive. If he couldn’t, we would have to move.” (MILTON)

“…as you get older, they don’t let you drive. So I am moving when I can’t drive - because there is no transport here. I would have to leave the community.” (HALTON HILLS)

“ … if you are mobile, public transit may be your option, but if you are somewhat less than fully mobile, there is no option other than taxi - the expensive option … public transit looks and says we will go to Oakville Mall, to Hopedale, to Sheridan but if you want to go to Sir John Colborne or QE Park, you are going to have to walk. Hello? How do you get seniors to Seniors Centers if you don’t provide transportation to the front door?” (OAKVILLE)

“I have to wait for my daughter to take me here and there. I don’t like that. If I can afford it, I will have to take a taxi once in a while to the physician, (because physician is) the most important ...” (BURLINGTON)

Seniors from diverse backgrounds are having difficulty transitioning to public transit.

“If they want to ring the bell, it is so high and difficult to reach because they are not very tall.” (MILTON DIVERSE)

“They have to wait for their children to come home from work so they can only go out in the evenings or weekends. Always dependent on their children” (MILTON DIVERSE)

“For transportation, I know my Grandmother used to always depend on my grandfather ... He would drive her around everywhere. When he passed away she didn’t know how to get around. She doesn’t speak much English … she didn’t know how to find out how to get somewhere …” (MILTON DIVERSE)

“… is it possible for the bus to go once a month from Burlington to Toronto’s China Town or even China town in Mississauga? They don’t know how to transfer from one station to another.” (BURLINGTON)

“They are concerned if they go somewhere and need to get transfers, they won’t know how to get back home.” (MILTON DIVERSE)

“… they (seniors) want to get the cheaper tickets but they can only get them at the bus terminal. If they can’t get them at the station, it is $2.50 per ticket. It is too far.” (OAKVILLE DIVERSE)

“… every day it goes up. Oakville is a very small city yet they are charging $1.75. This is no problem if you have an income. Most of our immigrant seniors have no income … I ask my children for the money … here it is a smaller (town) and how come seniors pay more money?” (OAKVILLE)

“Could they provide free bus for seniors maybe from 9 to 3 weekdays? Because they see the bus empty, but they cannot take it. Too expensive. Important to them because they don’t drive.” (MILTON DIVERSE)