All these alternatives can be used to replace some or all of your driving. It’s a good idea to try them out well before you start thinking about stopping driving. Talk to friends who use them, and maybe go along with them to try them out.
Walking and cycling
For shorter journeys you may be able to walk or go by bicycle.
Mobility scooters suit some people for shopping or for longer trips by road. You still need to be able to control them and to see properly and react in time to what’s going on around you.
Always get professional advice before getting a scooter, and think carefully about how you are going to use it:
- will you use it on the road or the pavement?
- will you have to get on a bus or train?
- where will you charge it and store it?
Public transport is much more accessible for everybody these days. There is also a wide range of fare concessions and free passes available, especially for older people. Train travel has a reputation for being expensive, but if you book ahead and use railcards you can usually save a lot of money.
Community transport is provided by local councils or voluntary groups and includes local bus, dial a ride and social car schemes and hospital transport services. It varies from place to place, but can provide a useful service. Contact your council or hospital trust to ask about this.
Taxis and minicabs
Taxis and minicabs can be very useful, and give you some independence. Many people think of taxis as unaffordable luxuries, but that needn’t be true. The costs of owning and running a car (including maintenance, insurance etc) mean that for many people it is significantly cheaper to get rid of the car and just use taxis or minicabs for all their journeys. Your council might also operate a taxi card scheme that makes it much cheaper to use local cabs.
You can get lifts with friends or family. You can always offer something in return if it makes you feel more comfortable.
The internet is a fantastic way of keeping in touch with people and of shopping for goods and services. If you’ve got a computer and a few accessories you can talk to people online for free with programmes like Skype. If you want to develop or refresh your IT skills, Age UK, Digital Unite and UK Online can help you find local courses. Your council or library or local voluntary groups may also offer courses.