Column: Connecting seniors to transit options

When we’re younger, we take our mobility – the ability to drive to the store, to church, or to visit relatives – for granted. As we age and grow older, we come to realize how critical in our culture it is to be able to move, to drive or to ride the bus, to navigate around our towns and neighborhoods.

One of the toughest challenges we can face is the loss of mobility, of the ability to order our lives and, in many ways, to lose our independence. That is one of the reasons I am a strong advocate for the Port Authority’s new ConnectCard program for seniors 65-plus – a small plastic card that can grant someone the freedom to navigate our region and regain their independence.

The new ConnectCard replaces the old blue or yellow bus passes and allows seniors to travel on public transit for free. My office stands ready to help folks apply for these passes and fill out any needed paperwork. I’ve also personally been visiting seniors in our community to make sure they are aware of this program and how to apply.

I want to make sure that everyone who can has the opportunity to retain their independence, even if they can’t drive. 

Along the same lines, one of the fundamental benefits of living in a democracy is our right to vote, to have our voices heard at the ballot box. That is why I want to make people aware of a recent change to Pennsylvania’s voting process, which I think will make it easier to ensure that everyone who is eligible and wants to can vote.

Starting this fall, Pennsylvania has launched an online application for an absentee ballot at votesPA.com/ApplyAbsentee. That means if you can’t make it to your local polling place in person on Election Day you can still cast a ballot.

The PA Election Code allows registered voters to apply for an absentee ballot up until one week before an election. This year, the deadline to apply by paper or online is 5 p.m. October 29.

This is an exciting new program which will help ensure all eligible voters have access to the ballot, one which I hope will encourage more voters to participate in our democracy.

Remember: my office is always here for you to help you with any state-related issues you may have. Please feel free to stop by the district office at 3689 California Ave. or call us at 412-321-5523.