There are many innovative smartphone apps available, but Uber is arguably one of the most convenient and popular. For those who may be unfamiliar with Uber, it immediately connects the user to a driver who will take them to their destination. Even though the use of Uber is most popular among young Millennials, seniors have steadily increased their use of Uber over the past few years.
It is a common misconception that seniors cannot adapt to new technology. This is not always the case, as Uber is becoming viral among the senior community. Uber’s popularity is in part due to its affordability, and also due to its capability to help seniors regain their independence. Uber can also be beneficial to those who are no longer able to drive, or to those no longer feel comfortable driving.
Traditionally, seniors have relied on neighbors or family members as a source of transportation. However, neighbors and family members are not always available, and as a result, seniors may miss medical appointments, fail to shop for necessities, and may begin to feel burdensome or isolated. Fortunately, Uber allows all seniors to have the opportunity to go where they need to go, whether it’s to a doctor’s appointment, shopping, or to a get-together with friends or family.
1. Easy to Use
A senior does not need to have technical support on standby, as Uber is extremely easy to use. Once the Uber app is installed on an iPhone or Android smartphone, the senior can tap the screen to set the location of where the Uber driver will pick them up. Once the location is determined, the senior can then request a ride and enter the destination address. Once Uber picks up the senior, the senior can see the direct route that the Uber driver will follow.
Not having transportation to get to where you need to go can be a problem of the past. Uber allows seniors to maintain their independence.
2. Alternate Transportation
It is estimated that by the age of 75, more than 30 percent of seniors will need to find alternative forms of transportation because they can no longer drive, or safely walk, to their destinations. Additionally, a majority of seniors have no access to public transportation. Taxi cabs or senior bus services may be too expensive and may be an inconvenience for some. Additionally, senior-based transportation services are not always reliable and could result in seniors missing appointments, especially if the senior lives in a rural area.
3. Ride Can Be Booked By Someone Else
Uber recently implemented a feature that allows certain users to book an Uber ride for someone other than themselves. Given that many seniors over the age of 65 don’t have a smartphone or the Uber app, this new feature allows friends and family members to book the senior’s rides on their behalf. When an Uber user activates the app, it will ask the user whether they are booking a ride for someone else. The users can then select a rider from their contacts, choose a destination, and request the ride.
This new feature alleviates the need for riders to have an Uber account. The Uber app will then share the rider’s contact details with the Uber driver, and the rider will receive a link to track the driver's direct route in real-time. The rider will also receive a text message with additional information, such as the driver's name and license plate number. The user who requested the ride can also track the Uber driver with the app.
Uber recently announced that they will provide free classes to seniors who are interested in using the Uber app. They have also agreed to provide free senior rides to retirement communities and senior centers in select cities, as part of trial partnership programs. Being that seniors often have limited transportation options, Uber has been working to develop community partnerships with several local senior organizations around the country with the goal of increasing affordability for seniors. In many cities, pilot programs are currently being tested. In these programs, some seniors qualify for discounted, and sometimes free, rides due to city support.
5. Disability Friendly
If a senior has a disability and requires help getting into and out of the car, or has a wheelchair or other mobility device, Uber ASSIST can be selected through the app to provide the senior with a specially trained driver who can help with the transfer. These drivers are also trained on how to handle and properly store wheelchairs and other devices. The cost of this special service would be the same as a ride chosen from UberX.
Seniors who are fortunate enough to live in a city within walking distance of the places they need to go are able to live independently, free of transportation worries. For others, Uber provides a reliable transportation option to seniors, enabling them to live independently. Unlike public transportation, such as bus lines, Uber is also available to some seniors who live in rural locations. Also, seniors who are retired and are able may want to consider becoming Uber drivers. As an Uber driver, they can earn extra money and drive only when it’s convenient for them. Something to consider for the senior who’s still sharp behind the wheel!