San Diego Senior Transportation: Free and Low Cost Options

A woman in a wheelchair is helped off a van using a chair lift.
Because the local bus and rail systems can be physically or logistically challenging for seniors to navigate, several San Diego transportation systems step in so that you or a loved one can get guaranteed transportation. While your trips may take a modicum of planning and time to set up, these free and low cost options for senior transportation in San Diego can get you where you need to go, on time and regularly.

Public Transportation: MTS Access and LIFT

State and federal law ensures lift-enhanced busses are available to take disabled passengers from curb to curb for medical appointments, grocery shopping, errands and even social or recreational activities. American Disabilities Act paratransit systems like LIFT, operated by the North County Transit Department and MTS Access, operated by Metropolitan Transit Systems take you to within ¾ of a mile of an operating MTS fixed bus route or trolley line.

The first step in relying on LIFT and MTS senior transportation services is getting ADA certification. Interested seniors can request a paper application by calling the ADARide office at 877-232-7433 to get it sent by mail or complete the application online at The office reviews your application and makes a decision within 21 days. MTS accepts reservations for rides two days in advance and up to 5:00 p.m. the night before. You can even reserve a seat for a companion who could be a Personal Care Attendant. One drawback is that if you want a pick up time at 1:00 in the afternoon, MTS will request you accept a window from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. Cost for seniors and/or disabled at this writing is $1.25 for each one way ride, but the monthly pass is $18.

ITN San Diego: Private Transportation for Seniors

ITN has created a network of non-profit transportation services for seniors and blind individuals. In this unique model, volunteers both donate vehicles and drive the vehicles in order to save up credits for transportation they will need at some point. A private, non-profit, ITN is funded by low fares, community support (local shops), volunteers and car and monetary donations. It does not compete with publicly funded transportation like LIFT and MTS above. ITN volunteers provide not only door-to-door transportation, they also go to the senior’s door to walk them arm-in-arm to the vehicle. ITN does not serve north county San Diego at this time. A “RoadScholarship” program is available for low income seniors.

To use the service, go to ITN San Diego’s member page to download an application or fill it out online. Once you are approved, you are free to call for a ride. Round trip rides typically cost $11. Available 24/7, ITN doesn’t limit the places it will take a senior. Further, ITN operates through a pre-funded rider account and uses private vehicles. No money is exchanged in the car.

Jewish Family Services “On the Go” Transportation Solutions for Older Adults

Despite its alliance with Jewish Family Services, riders do not have to be Jewish to utilize “On the Go.” Once riders get used to using the convenient services, they can explore the excursions to theater, lunch places and more On the Go organizes.

On the Go transportation services are available to older adults age 60+ without adequate transportation options who live in the following areas:
• Eastern San Diego – 91941, 91942, 92108, 92115, 92116, 92119, 92120, 92123, 92124
• Northern San Diego – 92014, 92037, 92111, 92117, 92121, 92122, 92130
• North County Inland – 92029, 92064, 92126, 92127, 92128, 92129, 92131
Enroll by calling the office at (858) 637-7320 or downloading the form and mailing it in. The enrollment fee of $20 can be waived in some cases.

FACT: The Clearinghouse for ALL Senior Transportation Options

FACT trans
FACT is a ride clearinghouse for seniors and the disabled.


FACT is a ride clearinghouse for seniors and the disabled.
Because the above options have trip and other limitations, the city of San Diego Department of Transportation has created Facilitating Access to Coordinated Transportation or FACT. This convenient online tool lets you type in your pick up and drop off locations and then browses all service providers including those above as well as some that serve specific populations like the Alliance for African Assistance, the American Cancer Society and many others.

Still Having Trouble Finding Rides? Call Love 2 Live Care Services!

Let Love 2 Live Care be your resource for everything that makes senior life rich. Researchers have found that older non-drivers make 59% fewer shopping trips and visits to restaurants and 65% fewer social, family and religious calls than those still driving. It doesn’t have to be this way! Once you get used to using one of these public or non-profit ride services, your whole world opens up. One-on-one care is an option as well. Many of our caregivers drive clients to their friends’ homes, social events, movies and grocery shopping. You can call 619-291-4663 with any questions or schedule a free, no-obligation in-home assessment.

FACT trans


5 Responses to “San Diego Senior Transportation: Free and Low Cost Options”

  1. Guy Michael

    I need a ride to my cardiologist, San Diego Cardiac Center: 3131 Berger Ave., San Diego 92123 . Pickup from my residence at: 10485 Moorpark St., Spring Valley, CA 91978.

  2. Hi Guy, Unfortunately we don’t offer just transportation. If you read the article it explains other options for finding just rides like ItN and On The Go.

  3. My mom lives in Chula Vista. She is 84. Just stopped driving. What transportation options does she have. She can walk with walker.


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