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Older people coping without a car

9 November 2004

Older people coping without a car

A new report gives valuable insight into how older people manage when they can no longer drive, Senior Citizens Minister Ruth Dyson said today.

“The report, Coping without a Car, shows a number of factors contribute to how well older people cope when they give up driving. These include easy access to public transport and services, strong networks of friends and family who can offer lifts, good health and mobility, and older people’s general outlook on life.”

Ruth Dyson said the report showed older people found it easier to ask for rides for ‘serious’ transport needs, such as food shopping or medical emergencies, than for pleasure, in spite of the importance of ‘discretionary’ outings to their quality of life. Fewer than half the survey participants used public transport, with proximity and physical access to buses and trains crucial factors. Most knew about the Total Mobility subsidised taxi scheme, and just over half used it.

“These findings confirm the importance of affordable and accessible transport. Improving access and maintaining mobility are key objectives of the government’s Positive Ageing Strategy and New Zealand Transport Strategy, and are essential if older people are to participate fully in our communities.”

Ms Dyson said the report showed that older women adjusted more easily than men to life without a car.

“Women of this age group generally have better social networks and are more used to being passengers. On the other hand, men frequently associate vehicle ownership and driving with a sense of individuality, independence and status.”

Coping without a Car was commissioned by the Office for Senior Citizens and conducted by the New Zealand Institute for Research on Ageing (NZiRA). Participants had to be living in their own homes without access to private transport for at least six months. They ranged in age from 67-94 years, and came from all over New Zealand.

The report, along with an NZiRA scoping paper, Older People and Transport, released last month, will help guide the recently announced Review of Older Driver Licensing Policy. The review, led by the Ministry of Transport in association with key interest groups including Grey Power, Age Concern and the RSA, is taking a long-term look at licensing policy for older people. It is due to report back to the Ministers for Senior Citizens, Transport and Transport Safety in June 2005. The Coping without a Car full report and summary version are available on the Office for Senior Citizens website:

The scoping paper, Older People and Transport, examines the transport patterns of older people and the barriers they face in achieving their transport needs. It is available on


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