Access to reliable transportation bolsters a person’s sense of independence and aids in their ability to shop, socialize, and access community resources.
While family members and friends may be available for transportation, being familiar with and connected to other options will ensure you can always get where you need to go.
Transportation options are highly dependent on where you live within the state. Urban and suburban communities generally offer a wider variety of services than more rural areas.
The Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority (RIPTA) maintains a list of available resources in each Rhode Island community. Access the information by clicking this link.
Here is a quick rundown of transportation options that may be available to you:
Fixed Route Bus Transportation
The Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority (RIPTA) maintains a network of buses that operate along a set route on a regular schedule. Riders get on and off the bus at designated stops along that route. If you live near a designated bus stop and your destination is also near a designated stop, the bus provides an affordable transportation option.
RIde Paratransit Services
The RIde Program is for people with disabilities that prevent the use of fixed-route buses, RIPTA offers paratransit service through the RIde Program, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). ADA Paratransit provides door-to-door service and requires advance reservations.
Flex Service brings a public transportation option to areas that have little or no fixed-route service. Flex is short for flexible service because it offers passengers the option of picking up the Flex van at a scheduled stop or choosing their own pick-up or drop-off point within the designated Flex Zone. Flex provides local service within its zone and connections to RIPTA’s network of statewide services.
Non-Emergency Medical Transportation
Rhode Island’s publicly-funded Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) services are provided through Medical Transportation Management, Inc. (MTM). MTM coordinates with qualified transportation providers to offer this important benefit for Medicaid members who need to get to and from Medicaid-covered services but have no means of transportation.
MTM also provides transportation to Rhode Island residents 60 years of age and older who do not have access to transportation for non-emergency medical appointments and certain other services.
Transportation via Health Insurance Plans
Some health insurance plans, including many Medicare Advantage plans, include a limited number of free trips to and from covered medical appointments. Check with your insurer for more information and availability.
Municipal Senior Transportation
Some communities offer transportation for seniors to and from the local senior center, grocery stores, pharmacies, and other locations. These services generally require completing a membership application. The availability, cost, and schedules vary by community.
Local Volunteer Driver Programs
Some communities have nonprofit organizations that maintain a list of local volunteers willing to provide transportation for medical appointments and other destinations. These include groups such as Village Common, Friends in Service to Humanity (FISH), and Southern Rhode Island Volunteers.
Taxis and Ride Share
Local taxi companies and services such as UBER and LYFT provide transportation for a fee, usually calculated by the mile. While these services can be cost-prohibitive for daily errands, they are an excellent resource for transportation when other options are not available or convenient.