CCRTA Prepares to Tackle Increasing Senior Population

CCB MEDIA PHOTO: Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority Administrator Tom Cahir unveils initiatives to prepare for the increasing senior population on the Cape Wednesday at the Hyannis Transportation Center.

CCB MEDIA PHOTO: Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority Administrator Tom Cahir unveils initiatives to prepare for the increasing senior population on the Cape Wednesday at the Hyannis Transportation Center.

HYANNIS – The Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority is being proactive when it comes to preparing for the expected senior boom on the Cape.

The authority announced its senior transportation initiatives Wednesday in response to a recent editorial calling for more planning for the increasing senior population.

Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority Administrator Tom Cahir said recent surveys indicate the median age of Barnstable County residents is now over 50 years of age compared to the state average of 39.

Thirty-nine percent of the population on the Cape is between the ages of 45 and 69 compared to a statewide average of around 32 percent. The over 70 population is about seven or eight percent higher on the Cape than the state average of 10 percent.

“The next 20 years will also will bring a sizable shift in consolidation of the population profile among persons in their 60s, 70s and 80s; and by 2035 roughly 35 percent of the population will be 65 years of age or older compared to 24 percent just five years ago,” Cahir said.

Cahir said the figures show that steps must be taken to make sure the transportation services are adequate for that segment of the population.

“In order for our seniors to access health care and housing and all the things they enjoy for quality of life – the most important thing is getting transportation, reliable transportation to get there,” Cahir said.

Cahir said the authority is planning a fall summit with the group’s council directors from communities across the Cape to discuss the issue.

“It’s the whole idea of better communication and coordination between all of the entities,” he said.

The authority is also focusing on educating the public about the services offered across the region and is creating a travel training program.

“We are going to be going out to the 230,000 year-round residents of Cape Cod and we are going to be sitting down with groups and individuals to teach them how to best access the public transportation on Cape Cod,” Cahir said. “We are going to educate the kids in the schools and everywhere we go about what’s best for them when they need to get somewhere with public transportation.”

A video series will also be created as part of the travel training program and will be accessible in local libraries.

A comprehensive study will also be conducted with the Cape Cod Commission to look into possible improvements for bus stops which will allow for easier accessibility.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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