Not content to remain a taxi for hire service, Uber has been expanding their reach—from UberPOOL to UberEats, with lots of exciting promises in between. A couple of weeks ago, Uber announced plans for a pilot program specifically aimed at seniors who can no longer drive on their own, and on July 13, Uber participated in the White House Counsel on Aging where they unveiled their plans for community-based senior outreach. Uber says they will work to extend their reach to seniors with free technology tutorials and by offering free rides at select retirement communities and senior centers.
How Uber Aims to Help Seniors
Any person, of any age (over 18), can request an Uber ride at any time, and this is, of course, true for the elderly as well. But Uber is taking their support for senior citizens further by partnering with senior organizations and piloting discounted programs in a few cities this summer:
- Town of Miami Lakes, Florida
- City of Gainesville, Florida
- Columbus, Ohio
- Austin, Texas
- Tucson, Arizona
- Phoenix, Arizona
- Ventura County, California
Uber described one of the pilot program in the City of Gainesville: They will, “offer on-demand transportation for residents of two senior centers as part of a six-month program. Any time a resident at a participating senior center needs a ride, he or she can request one at an even more affordable rate because of support from the city.”
If all goes well, we could see Uber for seniors programs in many more towns and cities in the coming months.
Seniors with Special Needs
Last fall, Uber began piloting uberASSIST to provide extra assistance to seniors and people with disabilities. Drivers who provide uberASSIST services are specially trained to help passengers get into the vehicle, and they are also trained to load up scooters and fold wheelchairs and walkers. Per Uber, riders looking to take advantage of uberASSIST need only:
- Tap on the Promotions section of the Uber app
- Enter the code ASSIST
- uberASSIST will appear on the slider
- Set the location and request the ride
Rides from uberASSIST cost the same as UberX, and after requesting a ride, passengers can call their driver with special requests.
Giving up a driver’s license because of physical limitations is a life-changing event and is often a serious loss. The limitations and seclusion that results can be devastating. Research shows losing one’s ability to drive can result in lowered self-esteem and feelings of helplessness. Creating safe and reliable options for non-drivers is crucial, and we’re excited to see Uber’s programs for seniors and people with disabilities expand.
Have you used uberASSIST or been part of Uber’s pilot program for seniors? Tell us about it in the comments.