The on-demand industry has long hung its hat on the notion of accessibility — anyone anywhere at any time can take advantage of these services … provided they have a smartphone. And while an ever-increasing proportion of Americans fall under this umbrella, one vital demographic remains on the fringe: our senior citizens. But now, Lyft is finding a way around this wrinkle in their plans, partnering with National Medtrans Network in New York City to provide older individuals with rides to and from non-emergency medical appointments. This new feature, the transportation giant promises, will fulfill “2,500 rides per week in New York City alone, providing dramatic reductions in wait times and missed physician appointments for patients, and increasing passenger satisfaction by 28 percent.”
To achieve this impressive goal, Lyft has introduced Concierge, a “third-party Web request product” that allows Lyft partners to request rides on behalf of others. And because it’s a Web-based app, smartphones aren’t needed to initiate or complete the transaction. The requester will only need to submit the passenger’s name, pickup, and drop-off location, and a Lyft driver will arrive shortly.
Not only is it a savvy business move for Lyft, but it also fills a burgeoning need within the United States’ 65-and-older population. With many senior citizens requiring regular checkups but managing limited mobility, being able to access an on-demand ride service without having to buy a smartphone (Lyft notes that over 25 percent of these Americans don’t own such devices) may contribute to a new sense of independence.
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“Working with Lyft, we’re helping patients live healthier lives by providing reliable, enjoyable rides to their appointments,” said Billy McKee, president of National Medtrans Network. “Using transportation-as-a-service like this, the health plans and government agencies we partner with are significantly reducing fraud, saving costs, and improving the patient experience. We provide over 25,000 livery trips per week in NYC, and our goal is to push all of those through Lyft.”
Hopefully, Concierge will help the 3.6 million Americans who currently miss or delay medical care due to a lack of appropriate transportation get to their doctors on time.