HEMET, Calif. — Domingo Cruzada, 68, walks a block on North Palm Avenue from the Sahara Villas senior apartments to the bus stop. When the bus pulls up, his wife, Emerenciana, climbs down, both hands full of shopping bags from the 99-cent store. He grabs the load, and the two trudge back to their apartment.

They don’t have a car because they can’t afford one. Their kids don’t live nearby. They depend completely on public transportation. Sometimes they have to take a taxi.