I have been a resident at La Grange since my childhood. In that regard, I have been a part of the generation that has lived to experience different types of transitions and developments that are fundamentally aimed at making life easier for the people. Nonetheless, it is imperatively devastating that there is controversy regarding whether the elderly should be provided with free public transportation or not. The biggest problem facing the elderly is that other than having difficulties to afford fare for public transports, they are also unfit enough to drive themselves around using private means. Besides, the elderly are not well conversant with their surrounding like the other members of the community. There are also some sections of the senior citizens who have either misplaced or lost their driving license. The fact that old age comes with health complications also means that some parts of the senior citizens have impaired sights that make them unable to carry themselves around using private means. A majority of the senior citizens who do not have cars or caregivers who can drive them around are barely strong enough to walk or rather move around from place to place. Thus, residents of La Grange should consider offering the senior citizens free public transportations (Eberhard, 2010).
The nature of public transport at La Grange
The main means of transport at La Grange is public transportation. Unfortunately, the bus and rail fares are expensive and imperatively unaffordable for a majority of the senior citizens in the neighborhood. Despite the fact that the senior citizens are weak members of the society, there are no exceptions in the fare that is charged to people of different age groups. Apart from that, the public transportation means is also barely enough to serve the high population of the residents of the area. Thus, it is in that regard that senior citizens find it difficult to compete with energetic young members of the society in situations where large groups of people tend to seek public transport (Ritter, Straight & Evans, 2012)
The public means at La Grange does not have robust frameworks that can be used to manage different transportation needs. Thus, other than subjecting the senior citizens to the same shipping conditions as that of the other members of the public, it is also justified that even the school children are not exceptions. Unlike in other countries where the elderly are provided with free bus rides, at La Grange, the concerned stakeholders have not considered addressing the issue with the sensitivity that it deserves. Despite the fact that the senior citizens have been crucial in the nurturing of the current society, it is very unfortunate that they are treated with disrespect and unfairness despite their age (Eberhard, 2010).
At La Grange, public transport is highly prioritized because it is ecologically friendly and consequently efficient to move around in contrast to the automobiles. In that same regard, the environmental control programs that have been developed to address the issue of global warming have increased gas prices to discourage people from traveling and moving around using private automobiles. Hence, the fact that most people depend on public means for their transportation needs has made congestions to be the order of the day more so in the morning and the evening. Thus, most senior citizens are usually left behind because they do not have the energy to compete with the young people during such intense times (Ritter, Straight & Evans, 2012)
The fact that public means is the safest for senior citizens makes a majority of them prefer using the means for their different transportation needs. However, there are situations where the old are left at the stations because they do not have fare to cater for their transports. There have also been cases where the old are compelled to drive on their own because of congestions at the stations. Apparently, their poor judgment, weakness, and even poor sights make them casualties of road accidents in which they get engaged (Ritter, Straight & Evans, 2012)
It is important that the government should organize for free rides to the senior citizens. The members of the public should be educated about the relevance of the initiative. In that regard, the advocacy plan should start by holding public meetings with the residents to enlighten them about the role of the elderly in the community. They should be substantially aware that a majority of the senior citizens are retired and cannot meet the economic needs of catering for their fares. In retrospect to that, the issue of the senior citizens being physically fit to make it by foot should also be emphasized to win the support of the citizens (Ritter, Straight & Evans, 2012)
The next rationale that should be put in place is to convince the government that it should designate some money to finance the transportation needs of the senior citizens. For that reason, representatives should be selected to present the grievances of the senior citizens to the right stakeholders to ensure that their arguments are convincing. The representatives should also come up with statistics that represents the number of lives that are lost because of allowing the senior citizens to drive themselves around. Consequently, the fact that the government bears the responsibility of guaranteeing its citizens with the protection and safety that they need means that there are high chances that the elderly would be accorded free bus rides (Ritter, Straight & Evans, 2012)
There should also be the registration of the senior citizens and provision of smart cards to prevent cases of fraud should the initiative be approved. Perhaps, there are groups of individuals who may use the opportunity of the free public means rides to evict paying their bus fares. Hence, registering all the senior citizens at La Grange and providing them with smart cards will prove crucial in the course of implementing the initiative. In addition to that, smart cards will also guarantee efficiency in the general public transport imitative bearing in mind that they would only require swapping to get things moving (Eberhard, 2010).
The senior citizens should then be educated on how to uphold their safety while using public means. In fact, the establishment of different public means that would be strictly used to convey the senior citizens would be highly welcomed. Nonetheless, there should be a follow-up measure at the course of the implementing the initiative to determine whether it is effective or not. In retrospect to that, it is through the monitoring means that necessary improvements can be developed to ensure that the transportation of the senior citizens using free public rides is a success (Ritter, Straight & Evans, 2012).
In conclusion, the senior citizens are important figures of our contemporary societies. They have not only nurtured us; they have also provided us with the sense of identity. Perhaps, the fact that the government has been making budgetary allocations cater for the different needs of the elderly populations means that some finances should be redirected at meeting their transportation costs. It should then be clear that despite being old and weak, the elderly are essential components of our communities and should be treated as such. Hence, any initiative that is likely to be developed to improve their livelihoods should be apprehended and consequently embraced whatsoever (Eberhard, 2010).
- Eberhard, J. W. (2010). Safe mobility for senior citizens. IATSS research,20(1.1996).
- Ritter, A. S., Straight, A., & Evans, E. L. (2012). Understanding senior transportation: Report and analysis of a survey of consumers age 50. AARP, Public Policy Institute.