Ride Services Give Seniors Their Wheels Back

Ride Services Give Seniors Their Wheels Back

Seniors want control of their lives. They want to continue driving, but when that is not possible they want the next best thing.  They can’t wait for driverless cars.  In the meantime the “on-demand” ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft are giving seniors their wheels back.  A large part of American life has revolved around automobiles since the early 1900’s.  Automobiles have provided independence for decades.  Seniors grew up during the Interstate highway boom.  They moved to the suburbs and drove wherever they needed.  They became dependent on their cars and their car became a symbol of their independence. Now seniors are living well beyond the age that it is safe for them to drive due to poor vision, poor response time, etc.

 

Until recently options for seniors who no longer drive have been severely limited.  Public transportation is woefully inadequate.  So seniors have had to become dependent on family, friends and neighbors.  They feel isolated and don’t have the quality of life they once had.  A 2004 study by the Surface Transportation Policy Project found that those 65+ who no longer drive made 15% fewer trips to the doctor, 59% fewer trips to shop and eat out and 65% fewer visits to family and friends than those who still drove.  So what do seniors do?

 

In 2017 seniors are no longer at the mercy of public transportation or a senior van.  We are on the cusp of driverless automobiles.  And, right now, there are ridesharing services that are giving them their wheels back, providing them transportation that is easy to access and reliable.  Services like Uber and Lyft are meeting the needs of many seniors and more every day.  Seniors are taking the situation into their own hands having their children or grandchildren load apps like Uber/Lyft learning how to use it, and then teaching their friends.

 

If seniors do not have a smart phone or can’t use apps both Uber and Lyft enable the service to be ordered for someone in another location.  Instructions to order for a different location are below.  I find that Lyft is easier to use for ordering from another location as you start the order from the first screen of the app.   That said Uber has only one additional step to get to the screen to order from a different location.

 

Lyft:  Touch “pickup location” at the bottom of the screen and enter the location; then touch “set pickup” and enter the destination.

 

Uber:  Touch the “where to” box; touch “current location” which will change to “pickup location” and enter the pickup location; then enter the destination.

 

There are many benefits of ridesharing for seniors; the most common are:

  • Door-to-door rides – no multiple stops or pre-scheduling as with senior vans
  • Reliable, sometimes senior vans arrive late or not at all
  • Cashless system – no need to carry extra cash
  • Available in nearly all areas

 

Uber estimates that 40% of their passengers are seniors and that number will only grow.

 

Uber has seen the future and is responding.  The average multiple-use Uber passenger generally takes about one to two rides per week, but a senior with no other means of transportation may need one or two rides per day.  Uber is piloting projects for seniors who no longer drive. They are partnering with some communities in test locations to provide seniors with travel options.  They are also piloting a project to provide more assistance to people with disabilities.

 

And now retired seniors are driving for ridesharing companies – “seniors driving seniors!”

 

New solutions are being developed every day to help seniors live more independent and enjoyable lives and ride-sharing is just another one of these solutions. Help the senior in your life regain their independence.