Ride-sharing Services for Seniors
The world of transportation for seniors is something that is constantly in need of solutions, whether that means streamlining existing services or creating new ones. With all of our connected devices and smartphones in just about every American household today, ride-sharing applications are giving public transportation a run for its money! And though traditional methods of public transportation can help seniors get from point A to B, other services like Uber, Lyft, and other similar mobile apps are becoming a very viable option for older adults.
Maximizing Senior Transportation Choices
Just because someone has reached their golden years doesn’t mean they don’t have places to go, things to see, and a life to live! Still, many seniors struggle with having limited mobility or even the inability to safely drive themselves to and from various locations. Sure, public transportation is available in most urbanized cities, however, the United States still has a long way to go before every senior has decent access to these services.
When buses, trains, and taxis won’t cut it, what can older adults do? The Community Transportation Association estimates that 26 million seniors rely on others for transportation, making it hard for many people to remain as independent as they’d like to be. In 2004, this report found that seniors who can’t drive make 15% fewer trips to their doctor — something that can affect someone’s health and self-esteem. All of this makes ride-sharing apps for seniors an attractive option for individuals who need transportation wherever and whenever!
How Seniors Can Use Uber or Lyft
Although these services may have a reputation of shuttling drunk college students back to safety, ride-sharing can be quite useful for seniors looking for a streamlined transportation experience.
Essentially, Uber or Lyft drivers use their personal vehicles to transport passengers who sign on to the app via their smartphone. The app is connected directly to your credit card or even PayPal, allowing you to accurately calculate the price of each ride. This way you won’t have to deal with tips or insufficient funds once you arrive at your destination!
Though it’s not free, there are ways to save money while using these ride-sharing services by splitting the tab with other riders. To do this, seniors can use Lyft’s Lyft Line or Uber’s uberPOOL, allowing multiple users to pay together while taking the same route.
Really, it’s as easy as logging on, entering your destination, and waiting for your driver to arrive. However, for seniors with limited mobility, it’s possible there are more steps involved.
For those who need extra assistance, Uber does actually offer uberASSIST, which uses drivers trained in helping riders enter and exit the vehicle. Many of these trained drivers can also accommodate folding wheelchairs, walkers, and scooters, although availability is still somewhat limited for this particular offshoot of the service.
Dispelling Any Apprehensions
Now, you may picture these services as being a technological step up from hitch-hiking, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Both Uber and Lyft constantly review their drivers to ensure they are adhering to strict safety policies, complete with full background checks and the constant monitoring of driver behavior on the road.
Additionally, all of your information is kept private while using these services so you don’t have to worry about being scammed. There are also ways to provide feedback and rate drivers to inform future riders of your experience!
Helping Seniors Share Rides
Even with ride-sharing services for seniors becoming more and more available, the options are still relatively limited. Luckily, Uber has been working to develop partnerships with many organizations, advocates, and municipalities focused on increasing the affordability of their services for seniors. In many cities, the company is testing these programs to provide discounted – or possibly free – rides. Additionally, Lyft has been partnering with senior housing operators to integrate their services into the paid amenities residents can access!
Although these services can seem somewhat foreign and strange compared to what many seniors are used to, many Lyft and Uber drivers have actually reported that they appreciate having senior customers in their cars. Whether it’s a nice change of pace from making late night drives to and from bars, or just because helping older adults maintain their independence is rewarding, ride sharing for seniors will definitely continue to be a viable option for many people across the country