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Alternatives to driving

Alternatives to driving for older drivers

If the time comes when you have to think about giving up driving, then this information about alternative ways to get around may be helpful.

The following alternatives can be used to replace some or all of your driving. Try them out well before you start thinking about retiring from driving. Talk to friends who use them, and maybe go along with them to try them out for yourself.

Walking and cycling

For shorter journeys you may be able to walk or go by bicycle. 

Some people use bicycles as mobility aids: find out more at the charity Wheels for Wellbeing.

Mobility scooters

Man driving mobility scooter in park

Mobility scooters suit some people for shopping or for longer trips by road. You still need to be able to control them, to see properly and to 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?
  • Is there ramped access at locations where you want to go?

We have more information about choosing a mobility scooter.

Mobility Centres

There are Mobility Centres which offer professional, high quality information, advice and assessment to people who need to gain or retain independence through mobility. Find out more about what services are on offer from Driving Mobility (the network of Mobility Centres).

Public transport

Public transport is more accessible for everybody these days (in theory at least). 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 get a discounted fare.

Community transport

Man driving mobility scooter in park

Community transport is provided by local councils or voluntary groups and includes local bus schemes, dial-a-ride, social car schemes and hospital transport services. These vary from place to place, but can provide an essential service. Contact your council or hospital trust to ask about this.

Go to the Community Transport Association - find your provider

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 and so on) mean that for many people it is significantly cheaper to sell their car and 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. 

Check out costs of driving versus alternatives to driving at the Older Drivers website

Getting a lift with others

If you can, cadge a lift with friends or family. You can always offer something in return if it makes you feel more comfortable.

New to being online?

If you’re online you can talk to others who are online for free with programmes like Skype and Facetime. 

If you want to develop or refresh your IT skills, you can find local courses through:

Your council or library or local voluntary groups may also offer courses.

See also information about using public transport and concessions schemes.
Find out about community transport and more about taxis.

Last updated: April 2019

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