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Uber for Seniors and Other Ride-Hailing Options

By Rachel DupontFebruary 14, 2022
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Seniors who no longer drive still have places to go. So what options are there for independent seniors without smartphones? While the millennial-adjacent generations can’t imagine anything worse than having to speak with a stranger to hail a taxi, perhaps the opposite is true for seniors. Having to download an app, set up a username and password, and navigate the app’s tabs and pages can feel like a hassle. For seniors who have opted out of smartphones entirely, using those apps isn’t even an option.

Ride-hailing companies have recently shifted their attention to providing workaround options for seniors. Here are some of the options that are now available to older adults.

1. GoGoGrandparent

GoGoGrandparent is one of the most multifunctional ride-hailing and delivery platforms. Not only does it provide access to Uber for seniors without smartphones, but it also opens the door to many other helpful apps. Seniors can access Uber, Lyft, Instacart, Postmates, DoorDash, Shipt, and more from GoGoGrandparent’s convenient phone-based operating system. No more downloading apps, and no smartphone needed. The platform has a simple number menu, so callers can listen to the prompts and key in whatever service fits their needs. And yes — callers can press “0” to talk to an actual human who can help them get what they’re looking for.

Not only does GoGoGrandparent partner with these ride-booking and request-fulfilling apps, but they also have their own services just for seniors. With a simple phone call to GoGo’s front desk, vetted staff can take care of tasks like lawn care, housekeeping, snow removal, or changing that light bulb that’s too high to reach.

How it works:

GoGoGrandparent is a membership-only service. To get started, register your number online with GoGoGrandparent. You’ll input your personal needs (mobility assistance, etc.), emergency contacts, and billing information. Then, call 855-464-6872 and wait to hear “Thanks for calling GoGo.” A recorded menu will go through the various key options. To skip all that, just press “0” and get connected with a real person.

Memberships start at $9.99 per month, with fees depending on the service. You can try out a GoGo membership for one free month to see if you like it. You’ll be charged by the minute for your concierge services, with whatever ride-booking fees you accrue added onto your bill, and then billed automatically from the card you registered with your phone number.

2. Uber and UberCENTRAL

Uber has made some adaptations to their ride-hailing platform to offer more access for unmet demographics — particularly seniors. Among these new additions is UberCENTRAL, a platform for businesses large and small to book rides on behalf of their customers. While not specific to seniors, UberCENTRAL has been successfully used by care home and senior centers’ staff to book rides for their residents and members.

While Uber does not currently have a direct phone line for seniors without smartphones to call for a ride, they’ve added a feature that enables family members to book rides on their behalf. Even more exciting is Uber Health, which allows participating medical providers to book rides for their patients to appointments.

Seniors can also go straight to the Uber website to schedule a ride themselves, with no app required.

How it works:

The business, family member, or health care provider using the Uber feature that applies to them will be able to book ride shares from their app dashboard. The person who’s taking the ride will receive SMS text message updates with information on their driver and details of their route. Uber will send a bill to the party that arranged the ride, and that party can then bill the passenger.

Uber’s partnership with RideWith24

Uber has partnered with 24 Hour Home Care’s operator service RideWith24, which provides public access to Uber via a toll-free number: 800-522-1516. RideWith24’s service, offering to-and-from transportation and through-the-door service, is currently only available in ArizonaCalifornia, and Texas.

How it works:

To book an Uber ride, simply call RideWith24’s toll-free number to speak with an operator, who will take your credit card details and book an Uber ride for you.

3. Lively and Lyft

One of the solutions that both Lyft and Uber have adopted is to develop partnerships with third-party companies that want to bring ride-sharing to their senior customers. One such third-party company is Lively, a wireless services provider for seniors, which offers user-friendly mobile devices, cellular service, convenient apps, and more.

For Lively, the opportunity to partner with Lyft was the perfect way to offer customers the ability to access Lyft through their Lively Jitterbug phones, which are user-friendly mobile phones designed specifically for seniors. Lively’s ride-booking service is available anywhere that Lyft operates.

In some areas, Lyft also offers a direct line for requesting pickup services, so smartphone-free seniors can book their ride without going through a third party. Simply call 631-201-5932 to book a Lyft for seniors.

How it works:

Existing Lively customers use their Jitterbug phones to press “0” and speak with an operator. The operator will book the Lyft ride and provide an estimated arrival time and cost. The final cost of the ride will then appear on the next billing statement.

If you’re not a Jitterbug phone owner, you can call Lively directly at 877-301-5284 for more information on becoming a Lively customer.

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4. National Volunteer Transportation Center

In some more rural areas, Uber and Lyft drivers can be tougher to come by. It can also be difficult to navigate certain vehicles for those with mobility assistance devices. The National Volunteer Transportation Center (NVTC) strives to fill in the gaps in these communities by training individuals to serve as ADA-compliant drivers who can provide taxi services, making them a better option than Uber or Lyft for the disabled.

The NVTC’s services span rural areas all over the U.S., including some areas of Alaska and Hawaii.

How it works:

Seniors can register for membership with the Community Transportation Association of America to have access to the NVTC’s ride-hailing services. There are a few level options to the memberships, and seniors can choose a billing program that works for their budget.

5. SilverRide

For the senior who needs the equivalent of an Uber for elderly care, the closest option is SilverRide, which is offered in the San Francisco Bay Area and is working to expand into other regions. With safety and health a top priority, SilverRide drivers wear gloves and masks at all times during service, and each vehicle is disinfected between passengers.

But SilverRide is more than just pandemic-safe ride services: It’s also an outing companionship service. Drivers offer door-through-door service and can even accompany their passengers on outings to provide support and assistance as needed. SilverRide drivers are trained in safety and care, offering safe and reliable medical pickup, as well.

How it works:

Simply call 415-861-7433 to schedule a ride. If a ride isn’t needed on short notice, reservations can be made a minimum of 24 hours in advance by visiting SilverRide’s reservation page, or email reservations@silverride.com.

SilverRide will quote the price of the ride ahead of time, based on the traveling distance and other services requested. After the ride, the trip will be automatically billed to the card on file or deducted from a prepaid balance.

Although some of these examples of ride-sharing for seniors aren’t available nationwide, the hope is that the companies will build on the success of these partnerships and continue to make their services more accessible to those who don’t have (or aren’t able to use) a smartphone or ride-sharing app.

Sources

24 Hour Home Care. (2022). RideWith24.

Bijor, R., Bordetsky, A. (2016, July 28). Driving customers to businesses with UberCENTRALUber.

GoGoGrandparent(2022). GoGoGrandparent.

Lively(2022).

Community Transportation Association of America. National Volunteer Transportation Center.

SilverRide(2018). SilverRide.

Author
Rachel Dupont

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