Uber wants to take aging Americans for a ride. Citing statistics from the American Public Transportation Association, which states that one in five older Americans aren’t able to drive and half that number remain in their homes, Uber proposes ride-sharing as the solution for elderly isolation in the Uber Newsroom blog.
According to the company, traditional public transportation services such as buses and subways often don’t work for many elderly, disabled, or wheelchair bound people. If people can not access facilities or vehicles easily, they won’t use them. Staying home results in isolation and is a threat to overall well-being.
Uber has partnered with the city of Gainesville, Florida, along with a local eldercare network, in a program called Freedom in Motion. The program, which is funded by the city, provides subsidized rides to senior citizens based on where they live and on their ability to pay. Uber sees this as a good example of a mixture of private, public, and special interest group agencies working together.
Uber suggests five ways the ride share company can help seniors and all are related to enhanced mobility services. Uber’s major transportation advantage for seniors, which applies to all populations that the ride-share company serves, is access to reliable transportation. Because an Uber car will arrive at the time and place requested by the rider, seniors don’t have to make their way to a fixed pickup location or follow a published schedule.
Four additional life-enhancing aspects of ride sharing apply specifically to the aging population, according to Uber. Exploring the city to visit and learn about new places and the ability to visit friends are made easy with Uber.
The ride share company touts the dual advantages of getting outside and staying active in leading a more interesting and balanced life.
With a nod to technology, Uber also mentions that seniors who use its service will be more engaged in our tech-focused world in which people build relationships and interact with one another.
For many people, Uber and other ride-share services are a convenient, sometimes less expensive way to get around the city. As ride-sharing matures and becomes less of a new thing and a more widely recognized choice in the established array of urban and local mobility services, Uber and other ride-share companies will have a greater opportunity to serve older Americans.