YOUNG URBANITES WERE the first to adopt ride-sharing services, but the people poised to benefit most from new transportation options are retirees. Older adults often reach a time when they need to start driving less and riding more, and the on-demand scheduling and transparent prices of ride-sharing services can be a good fit for those who can no longer drive. Here are some of the benefits of using Lyft and Uber for seniors.
Rides When You Need Them
One of the conveniences of using the Uber or Lyft app versus calling a taxi is that you can order transportation from your smartphone and pinpoint your pickup spot on a map. The app connects nearby drivers to your specific location. The first driver to claim the order becomes your ride. You immediately know the driver’s name, the type of car and the driver’s rating. Then you get an estimated arrival time, and you can see the driver’s location on a real-time map. You can also schedule a ride in the future without placing a phone call.[
READ: How to Find an Apartment as a Senior. ]
No Need to Provide Directions
The first step in ordering a ride is to enter the address of your destination. The app software then provides turn-by-turn navigation to the driver and calculates the fastest route. There’s no need to give the driver verbal directions or hope the driver is familiar with the neighborhood. Unlike metered taxis, the fastest route is best for both the rider and the driver. This system gets you where you need to be in a timely manner and lets the driver move on to find the next passenger.
Transparent Pricing and Easy Payments
Before confirming a ride, the ride-sharing apps clearly state the price from your current location to the destination. The apps use distance and a real-time supply and demand pricing model to determine the cost of the ride. Unlike metered taxis, the price is finalized when you order the car, and it doesn’t increase if your route changes or you get stuck in traffic. Furthermore, there is no cash exchange when you use a ride-share service. The payment completes through a credit card transaction from within the smartphone app.
When you first open your account, the app asks you to connect your credit card. All future rides are charged to the card, including an optional tip. You can connect multiple cards for personal or business purposes and quickly select which card to use. With the ease of automatic electronic payments, there’s no need to carry cash. The app contains a history of past rides, which you can easily compare against your credit card statement.[
If you live in an area with a high density of drivers, you may be able to get by without owning a car. Car payments, gas, insurance, maintenance, parking and local taxes make the total cost of owning a vehicle higher than you might think. Depending on how often you drive and the kind of car you own, using ride-share companies as your primary mode of transportation may lower your overall costs. Calculate the total monthly cost of owning your vehicle, then compare that to an estimate of what you would pay for rides in a month. For example, if you expect to need 25 rides in a month at an average cost of $15 each, that’s $375 in ride-share transportation costs. You may be surprised to learn that you’d be better off using ride-share services rather than owning a car. You’ll maintain independence, eliminate a depreciating asset and never wait for another oil change or repair again.
Mobility For Those With Disabilities
A disability, no matter how severe, can limit transportation options. Seniors with mobility problems often suffer from loneliness, depression and worsening physical health issues because they tend to stay at home due to their limitations. Diminished driving ability due to an injury, cognitive issue or long-term vision loss is another inconvenience common among older adults. However, ride-sharing apps can help you stay active in your community and get to where you want to go. Some ride-sharing services also partner with senior organizations to provide low-cost rides to specific groups of older customers. For example, Lyft recently became an enrolled Medicaid provider in Arizona that will provide covered transportation to and from medical appointments for eligible patients.
Driving skills can decline with age. For those who have trouble reading street signs or no longer feel comfortable behind the wheel, a ride-share provides a safer method of transportation. There may be some concern about…
This article was sourced from U.S. News.