Retiring From Driving


to the Parkway Senior Center’s “Retiring from Driving Transportoptions,” a collection of information that helps people learn, compare, choose and use transportation options in Oneida County. Transportation is a basic need for individuals in Oneida County, whether they are commuting to and from work, trying to get to a doctor’s appointment, or even the grocery store.

You can use Transport options to:

· Learn more about the transportation programs and services available

· Help people make informed choices about their mobility options

· Educate people about all of the available resources that may help them get to where they need to go, the easiest and least expensive way possible

This information is free of charge and was developed to help senior drivers cut back on, or retiring completely from driving. However, we ask that you:

· Provide your name and contact information so that we can provide updates as programs and services evolve and change

· Keep a record of specific transportation barriers, gaps and success stories from individuals that you work with. See next page.

· Share the contact information of those that you help with Transportoptions

Retiring from Driving is a project of the Parkway Senior Center. For more information on Retiring from Driving and on transportation, please contact Kari Johnson from the Parkway Senior Center at 315-223-3973.

Kari Johnson
Director of Volunteer Services
Parkway Senior Center
220 Memorial Parkway, Utica, New York 13501

Transportoptions Table of Contents

Welcome Letter and Records Sheet
1. Tools and Tips

Compare Benefits and Costs
Save on Your Car I: Buy Smart
Save on Your Car II: Drive Smart
Save on Your Car III: Take Smart Trips
Calculate Your Car Cost

2. Bike, Bus, and Walk

Bicycling & Walking
Regional Buses and Trains

3. Cars

Cars: The Essentials
Cars: Buy, Lease, Insure and Repair

4. Rides by Request

Taxis and Other Rides-by-Request

5. Rideshare

Ridesharing: The Essentials

Pamphlets and Informational Sheets

Transportation Services
How to Ride a Centro Bus
Centro’s “An Introduction to: Call-A-Bus”
Safety Message for Centro Riders
10 Signs that it’s Time to Limit Driving
10 Vision Safety Tips for Older Drivers
Summer Driving Tips
Winter Driving Tips


HEALTH: Exercise through walking and bicycling carries a host of health benefits, such as helping to prevent illness, maintain a healthy weight, improve mood, and lower stress.

COMMUNITY & ENVIRONMENT: Choosing to walk or bicycle also reduces traffic and pollution, while supporting options such as the bus is important for people who may not have cars. Sharing rides is another way to help people get where they need to go.

DOLLARS: The typical household spends more to get around than to eat, and owning a car is generally the most expensive way to get around. Most people underestimate the total costs of their cars, but knowing the facts can help people take charge of their transportation dollars.

SEE ALSO: Transportation Support and Resources, Retiring from Driving’s Your Total Car Cost Worksheet; Save on Your Car I, II, and III; and info sheets on diverse ways to get around.

Average total cost of using a private vehicle for one year:
~$8,000/year ~$650/month ~$150/week ~$20 a day

For the average total cost of a private car for one year ($8,000), you could get:

A full price year-long bus pass for – 18 years

Commute in an average-cost vanpool for – 5.6 years

Rent an average-price car for the weekend for about – 60 weekends

Renting a car for a week for about – 25 week trips

Buy a new $150 pair of walking shoes for – 53 years

Spend $400 on a bicycle and/or bicycle gear for – 20 years

One adult can, for a year: ride the bus, commute by vanpool, spend $30 on taxis a month, buy $150 walking shoes, invest $400 in a bicycle, and rent a car for a week—and still save over $4,000 over the average yearly cost of a car.

It’s not all or nothing! Try one new trip:

> Share a ride with a neighbor, friend, or co-worker
> Avoid idling a fast starts and stops
> Save gas though proper car use
> Get active with one new walking or bicycling trip
> Combine several trips into one
> Let someone else drive – take a bus


About 70% of a vehicle’s total cost goes to buying it and keeping it legal, whether you drive it a lot, or hardly at all. Use the car-buying and insuring tips below, and you can get more car for your money, and keep more money in your pocket every month.

1. Look before you leap. Take the time to get a better car for a lower price. The New York State Office of the Attorney General website has information on new and used car-buying, auto leasing and deceptive auto advertising. Go to their website at; go to the Resource Center and Publications to get to their section on Autos. Or call their hotline at 800-771-7755.

2. Look beyond the sticker price. The lowest price tag will not always save you the most money over the long term—sometimes paying more now can cost less down the road. Search for the ‘True Cost to Own Calculator’ at and for car information at

3. Buy with insurance costs in mind. Daytime running lights, anti-theft devices and other car features can lower your premiums. To buy an ‘insurance-smart’ car, see information at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety at

4. Lower your insurance premiums. You could pay less every month if you shop around; choose a higher deductable, take advantage of low-mileage discounts and more. The Parkway Senior Center can give you the Insurance Information Institute’s 9 Ways to Lower Your Auto Insurance Costs pamphlet, or find it online at Do a search for “Nine ways to lower” and click the article title.

5. Get a mandatory insurance discount. Take a defensive driving course and you have a right to a 10% discount on auto insurance premiums for 3 years! The Parkway Senior Center offers an AARP Defensive Driving class. Call 315-223-3973 to register or learn more about the class. You can also visit the New York Safety Council at and click on “defensive driving.”

6. Get the insurance paybacks you deserve. You can also check out the NYS Office of the Attorney General’s section on insurance fraud. Go to the “Resource Center” section at and click on “consumer frauds,” or call the Attorney General’s hotline at 800-771-7755.

About 30% of the cost of a car or truck goes for gas and maintenance—but you can save money through these everyday driving and car care habits![1]

1. Get moving – For modern (computer-controlled, fuel-injected) cars, it’s best to warm your car by driving slowly after no more than 30 seconds of idling, or after 60 seconds if it’s less than 10 degrees out. Turn on your car, put on your seatbelt, and get rolling. Longer idling wastes gas and can even degrade the engine’s performance.
2. Turn off your car – Two minutes of idling uses the gas that could take you about a mile, and causes more wear than turning it off and on. Turn off your car as soon as you stop, and you’ll lower your costs, exhaust and carbon footprint.
3. Mellow out – Flooring the gas pedal, fast driving, and slamming on the brakes can lower your gas mileage by as much as 33% on the highway. Slower starts, keeping closer to 55 mph, and coasting into stops could save you over $200 a year. Each five mph over 60 mph is like paying an extra 20 cents per gallon for gas!
4. ‘Lean’ your machine – Take extra weight out of your car and remove rooftop carriers when not in use improves your gas mileage up to 2% or more.
5. Don’t be deflated – Ten pounds of under-inflation can decrease your fuel economy by 4%. Tires should be checked at least once a month—especially in changing weather—and inflated to the number found in your car’s owner’s manual, glove compartment, gas cap, or door jamb (usually on the front driver’s side.)
6. Car care costs less – Good car maintenance can prevent needless repairs, improve your fuel efficiency, and make your car last longer. Read your owners’ manual and/or check with a car mechanic about regular oil changes, tune-ups, tire rotations, fluid flushes, alignment and brakes checks and air filter changes.
7. Use the parking brake – more often and save your transmission.


Driving everywhere takes a toll in time, money, and even health. Try some of these ‘Car-Lite’ tips and save on gas, repairs and possibly insurance. You might even lower your stress, boost your health, or improve your social life.

It’s not all or nothing! Consider trying just one trip a new way.

1. Share a ride: Share driving and travel costs with someone and you’re instantly paying half price for gas, parking and tolls—and cutting pollution at the same time. Fill your car up with people, and save even more.

2. Curb your car: Mix up your routine and try some new ways to get around:

  • Stop wasting time and gas searching for the “best” parking spot. Park sooner and get some fresh air and exercise on your way to the door.
  • Let someone else do the driving—take a bus. You can read, sleep or relax along the way. Walk or ride to a bus stop, or drive to a park and ride location.
  • Add a bicycle rack to your car and bring your bike to town, where getting around by bicycle can be as fast as a car—but with better health benefits. Or park your car in a meter-free spot and run some errands on foot, instead of driving from place to place.

3. Skip a Trip: Sometimes the best way to save on getting around is to stay home! Skip a trip a week and you could save $30 or more and free up time for something else. Here’s how:

  • Combine trips: save up errands and turn many trips into one.
  • Trade favors: trade favors with a friend or neighbor to pick something up at the store, drop off mail or return library books.
  • More people are taking vacations at home, or “staycations.” Make a plan for fun and relaxation close to home, and save money, hassle and carbon emissions.


Use this worksheet to estimate total car costs based on your actual receipts and/or estimates. For repairs that don’t happen every year, estimate their cost over five or ten years, then divide the cost by the number of years to get a yearly estimate.


Many people enjoy the low cost and freedom of getting around on foot or bicycle.
The New York State Department of Transportation has a page full of information about bicycle safety. You can visit this site at:


  • Walk to/from a bus stop.
  • Park sooner and walk!
  • Walk or bicycle to an Ithaca Carshare car or truck.
  • Let the bus carry your bike part-way.
  • Walk or bike to a carpool/rideshare.

Consider finding a buddy for a new trip on foot or by bicycle. Plan ahead for low stress!


  • Save on travel costs and health costs.
  • Use clean, green transportation.
  • Walk or bicycle on your own schedule and make any stops you want.
  • No need to park a car.
  • Talk with friends or have fun family time along the way.
  • Getting active improves health and well-being, reducing stress and illnesses.
  • Enjoy fresh air and get to know your neighborhood.
  • Help create lighter traffic, less pollution, and friendlier streets.

Getting active will boost your health, and can be a fun family activity.

  1. Ask around among people you know.
  2. Utica’s Craig’s List and Utica Freecycle can be found online.
  3. Many local bicycle shops can help you find the right bike for you and take care of it.

** Always lock your bicycle! **

Our lives go beyond county lines. So do bus (and train) services!


A full bus route schedule for Rome and Utica can be found at Centro’s website.

A Utica system map can be found at:

A Rome system map can be found at:


Centro Bus Service is the main bus service provider in Oneida County. It provides transportation connecting Utica, Rome, New Hartford, Clinton, New York Mills, Whitesboro, and other outlying areas. It costs $1.50 for the City of Utica Buses and $1.00 for the City of Rome Buses. If you have a disability or are 65 and older, you are eligible for ½ price fair passes. You must show your Centro ID or a Medicare Card at the time of your ride.


If you have any questions about Centro or the services they provide, you can call them at 315-797-7803 or visit their website at


Centro also offers a Transit Bus and a Call-A-Bus for those who are unable to take the Centro Buses due to a disability. The Centro Transit Bus is wheelchair accessible. You can call Centro at 315-797-7803 to learn more about these services and see if you qualify.


The nearest AMTRAK train station is at the Boehlert Transportation Center. The address is 321 Main Street, Utica, NY 13501. The phone number is 800-872-7245.

Owning a car is generally the most expensive way to get around:

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A child car seat is important if you have grandchildren riding with you. In NY State, children must use a child car safety system—beyond a regular seatbelt—until their seventh birthday.

  • It can be a child safety seat, harness, vest or booster seat that is properly attached. It should not be used in the front seat.
  • It must match the child’s age, size and weight specified by the manufacturer.

Child Passenger Safety: New York State offers child safety seat workshops throughout all of New York. The purpose of these workshops is to make sure that the safety seat in your car is installed correctly. You can visit to find out when these workshops will be in Oneida County.
For more info: See the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Child Safety section at for safety seat recalls, safety seat information, and more!

NY State resident drivers must possess a valid NY driver’s license. Vehicles must carry valid registration, inspection and insurance. For more information contact:
The Oneida County Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), 321 Main Street, Utica, NY 13501. 315-798-5749.
The NY State Dept. of Motor Vehicles (NYS DMV) call center for area code 315 is 518-486-9786. offers information on:

  • Preparing for permit and road tests.
  • Getting a drivers’ license.
  • Drivers from other nations.
  • Registering a car that’s new to you or to New York State.
  • Insurance requirements and procedures.
  • Safety inspections.

Some cell phone, car insurance, car dealership, and credit card plans offer emergency assistance coverage. Or join a car club such as AAA, Allstate Motor Club, or the Better World Club.
GOOD NEWS: There are many ways to get around—and to save money on your car. See the additional sheets in the back of this binder for more information.
Free Phone and Minutes If You Qualify
If you’re enrolled in certain public assistance programs or are income-eligible, you could get a free cell phone plus 68 minutes a month through SafeLink Lifeline Service. For more information or to apply, see


Consumer Issues

Many people find buying, insuring, and caring for a car stessful, but there is help. These resources can help you save money and be more confident as a car consumer.

ALSO SEE Our Info Sheets:
> Save on Your Car: Buy Smart, Drive Smart, and Take Smart Trips
> Cars: The Essentials
The NY State Dept. of Motor Vehicles (NYS DMV) operates a call center for questions on road tests, registering your vehicle, drivers from other nations, insurance, repair shops, and more. For more information, call 518-486-9786. You can find extensive information at their website as well, at
You can also file a complaint about a vehicle purchase, inspection, or repair with the NYS DMV Office of Vehicle Safety. They can be reached for questions, or to get complaint forms, at 315-458-6683.

NY State Office of the Attorney General has information and tips on:

  • New and used car buying and lemon laws
  • Deceptive auto advertising
  • Auto leasing consumer protections

See Auto Issues under the Consumer Frauds section of their website at or call the general helpline at 1-800-771-7755.
Comparing the value and true costs of cars can save a lot of money over time.

  • can give you a vehicle’s history, for a fee, including accidents, title issues, car-care records, and more.
  • Consumer Reports independently rates a wide range of products, including automobiles. Consumer Reports magazine can be found at the Utica Public Library, or visit
  • offers a lot of car buying tips and advice, insurance information, and car reviews. You can also calculate the True Cost to Own for a particular car over time.
  • Kelly Blue Book has information on car values, car reviews, finding the car for you, and ‘green cars.’ Ask at the reference desk of the Tompkins County Public Library, or visit their website at
  • The Oneida County Department of Motor Vehicles can be found at 321 Main Street, Utica, NY, 13501, or reached at 315-798-5749.

You can also visit their website at for more information.


Taxicab rates within the City of Utica are set by the City, by geographic area or “zones.” If you want to know how much a trip will cost, you can call the specific taxi service, tell them the trip’s origin and destination, and they will give you an estimate.
Not all taxi-like rides are technically “taxis.” Taxis require certain vehicle inspections and driver background checks. You can always ask if a service is officially a ‘taxi’ when you place a ride reservation.
Sharing a taxi costs less, if all riders are picked up and dropped off together. Tips are accepted, but not required. Some riders give a 10% to 20% tip to drivers or $1 to $2 for each $10 in fares.
Extra charges may apply for carry-ons beyond standard luggage or grocery bags. Check rates when you order your ride.
One child under five per adult can usually ride for free; double check fares when you order your ride. Passengers 65 or older can receive a discount; ask the service when you order your ride.


  • Ace Taxi Service is located at 502 Eagle Street, Utica, NY 13501. They can be called at 315-735-5055 or you can visit their website at:
  • Elite Taxi is located at 1566 Howard Ave, Utica, NY 13501. They can be called at 315-982-6156 or you can visit their website at:
  • Utica Transportation offers transportation throughout all of New York at affordable prices. You use their taxi service or call to schedule a ride at (315) 534-9120. You can visit their website at:

These services offer rides by reservation in the Utica/Rome area. Some are wheelchair accessible.
Behr’s Home Care L.L.C. Companion Agency offers care and companionship to seniors as well as transportation. It is located in New Hartford and you can call it at 315-737-7717. You can also visit their website at
D & T Transport offers transportation and is wheelchair accessible. It is located in New Hartford and you can call it at 315-732-2363.
Independent Care Companion Agency offers transportation and is Medicaid eligible. It is located in Rome and you can call it at 315-337-0037.
Dial-A-Ride is a call-a-ride service offered by Centro Bus Service. It is designed for people who would normally use Centro buses but have a disability. You can call Centro at 315-797-1703. You can also visit the Centro website at

Suggestions and complaints can be given directly to the taxi/transportation providers by calling them. Explain what exactly happened or be clear about the suggestion you want to give. Be as specific as you can! This will help solve the problem quickly and efficiently.


Cars are for driving full! Ridesharing, another word for carpooling, is one of the easiest, most effective ways to save money and cut pollution – a do-it-yourself transportation soluntion.

What is a good trip for ridesharing? People share rides on all kinds of trips – to work and work functions, running errands, going out for fun, and for longer trips.
It’s not all or nothing! If you’re not ready to carpool every day, try once a month, once a week, or even just one time.
Try making that extra call and share a ride one time you ordinarily might not.

SAVE $$ Split driving costs and pay just have the cost of gas at the pump or less! Save on other car/travel costs, too.

  • MORE SOCIAL Many people find that doing errands, going out and even going to work is more fun with more company.
  • SUPPORT COMMUNITY Sharing a ride is a grassroots way to create more transportation options for more people.
  • GO GREEN Ridesharing is one of the most effective ways to cut pollution, and vehicle emissions per person.

BACK-UP TRANSPORTATION “But I need my car during the day – ”

  • It’s always good to make back-up transportation plans. Consider the bus, arrangements with friends, or with the money you’re saving, take a taxi.

The key to successfully sharing rides is MAKING CLEAR AGREEMENTS. These can include:
Sharing cost: Any arrangement is fine, for giving rides as favors, to splitting gas plus cost for wear and tear costs – as long as everyone agrees. The IRS reimbursement rate is $0.55 a mile.
Sharing driving: Clarify who will be driving or if you will take turns.
Pick-up and Drop-off: Clarify times and locations, and how long to wait for someone before leaving.
Car culture: You may want to discuss music, food, fragrance, or other issues that can affect everyone in the vehicle.

Where can I go to find someone to share a ride with?
New York State Department of Transportation has a rideshare website called:
Utica Craigslist:

[1] Statistics and calculations based on information by the US DOE Transportation Energy Data Book and the national Alliance to Save Energy Drive Smarter Challenge.