Coping without a car: What are your options?

Many older people rely on their car to get around. Having a car makes it easy to go shopping, get to appointments and catch up with friends – without having to ask anyone else for help. Some people will be able to keep driving well into their 80s and 90s. Others may have to stop driving because they can’t renew their driver licence after they turn 75. If you or a friend or family member does have to give up driving, see this as a change not an end. There are many other options for getting around safely that still allows you to remain independent.

Public transport

  • Pick up the latest timetables for their local bus or train services. You can get these from the local library, council, Citizens’ Advice Bureau or transport companies.
  • Check if public transport is regular and reliable in your area. How easy is it for you to get on or off the bus or train?
  • Check whether your Supergold card entitles you to free or discounted travel in their area. To find out more about this:

Mobility scooters

If you, your friend or relative is unable to drive safely because of health problems, an electric-powered mobility scooter could help. Note that if you’ve lost your driver licence because of hearing or vision problems, you may not be able to drive a scooter safely.

The booklet Ready to ride: keeping safe on your mobility scooter has information about how to use a scooter safely. To get a copy, you can:

Community transport services

In some areas, volunteers provide transport for seniors who can no longer drive. You could find out more about these from the local:

  • library or council office
  • your local Age Concern
  • your GP/doctor’s rooms.


  • Check that there’s a reliable taxi service where you live.
  • Many people think taxis are too expensive to use regularly. But it can cost up to $2,500 a year to run a small car. That’s a lot of taxi fares! You can work out the cost of owning a car by visiting [PDF, 146 KB]
  • If you have a disability, such as Parkinson’s, diabetes, arthritis or problems with their eyesight, you may be able to get discounts on taxi fares through the Total Mobility Scheme. You can find out more about the scheme from the Transport Agency brochure Total mobility around New Zealand. To get a copy:

Transport in rural areas

  • Public transport may be less frequent in rural areas than in the city. Check with the local council, library or Citizens’ Advice Bureau to see what is available.
  • In some rural areas, there’s a network of community transport services. Sometimes these are run by volunteers. You could find out more about these from the local:
    • library or council office
    • your local Age Concern
    • your GP/doctor’s rooms.

For more information and resources click here to go to the NZTA’s website.

About Eve Williams

Eve Williams is the Content Developer and Social Media Administration for Eldernet. She is currently studying towards her Masters at the University of Canterbury. She has a passion for learning new things.