Ridesharing for Older Adults
Ridesharing companies have boomed since their start-up beginnings in the 2000’s through the convenience of mobile apps and cashless transactions. While many people are familiar with ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft, there are also transportation services and companies geared specifically towards the older adult population. This article details national and local ridesharing and transportation options for older adults in San Diego.
Older adults have unique needs when it comes to transportation. Some may no longer able to drive themselves, have more frequent transportation needs due to medical appointments, and require specific accessibility equipment in vehicles.1 Additionally, older adults may also feel uncomfortable taking public transportation, either due to inexperience, lack of understanding of public services, or because they cannot physically tolerate wait periods of public transit systems. Considering these circumstances, services have been developed to accommodate the transportation needs of older adults.
Transportation services and programs for older adults in San Diego
GoGoGrandparent is a concierge service that connects older adults with transportation, medication delivery, grocery delivery, meals, and more. GoGoGrandparent partners with services such as Uber, Doordash, and Instacart and can be accessed with or without a phone.
Price: Riders pay the full price that Uber, Doordash, or Instacart charges, in addition to a concierge fee of $0.27 per minute, GoGoGrandparent charges for facilitating the transaction. Prices for on-demand rides vary depending on distance and time of day, but are generally cheaper than taxis. The rider is still responsible for all regular fees that apply as if they were using the underlying service directly, including cancellation fees and surge pricing.
Enables seniors to request app-enabled services without needing a smart device. Use the toll-free number to arrange a ride at 1-855-464-6872 with a traditional phone. Live operators are available 24/7.
Rides are monitored and drivers are screened for safety.
Family members and caretakers can have access to notifications about the ride via text messages.
Accommodations are available for walkers and foldable wheelchairs, but this service is best used by older adults who can get in and out of cars without assistance.
Uber has a service with no additional charge to let people request a ride from any internet-enabled phone or computer. More information about this service can be found here: https://www.uber.com/en-NL/blog/how-to-request-an-uber-ride-without-the-app/
Seniors A Go Go provides older adults with low-cost, escorted, door-through-door transportation, which aims to reduce missed appointments. The San Diego hub for “Seniors A Go Go” is operated through ElderHelp of San Diego. This service is best for older adults who can get in and out of a car with minimal assistance.
Price: Prices dependent on rates set by ElderHelp San Diego, but are still affordable.
Quick Fact: Seniors A Go Go is listed on iTNAmerica, which is a national network of older adult-catered ride services that offer “door-through-door” transportation.
FACT - Facilitating Access to Coordinated Transportation | San Diego is a non-profit agency that coordinates transportation services in San Diego. Using a database of transportation services, FACT functions as a mobility manager to match older adults and persons with disabilities to transportation that is most appropriate for their individual needs.
Price: Prices depend on the type of transportation service requested. There are both free and paid services available.
Quick Fact: Transportation referrals are provided in-person, phone, and though Find-A-Ride, the web-based trip planner.
Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) is a Medi-Cal funded program that provides, among many other services, non-emergency medical transportation for older adults. St. Paul’s PACE and San Diego PACE are two providers of this program. PACE provides courteous staff and trained drivers to allow older adults to obtain the care they need without worrying about taking public transportation or driving.
Price: PACE services are always free for older adults that are eligible for Medi-Cal.
Quick Fact: Participants must call to receive an evaluation, and if deemed eligible, enroll in the program prior to receiving services.
Renewing Life is a non-profit organization that provides low to no-cost transportation to seniors and individuals with disabilities in South San Diego County. Renewing Life provides transportation for medical and dental appointments, weekly shuttle shopping to places like Walmart, 99 Cent Stores, and ethnic food stores, social trips, and personal care trips. A unique quality of the Renewing Life transportation service is that there is no membership, application, or other requirements other than being an older adult or a person with disability.
Renewing Life aims to have the same driver pick up and return the same clients, thus fostering a bond and trust with the riders. Most Renewing Life vehicles are ADA approved and equipped to provide wheelchair transportation. Shuttle shopping trips are often scheduled for riders from partner facilities and provide the opportunity for older adults to catch up with each other while on an outing. Lastly, Renewing Life is also a ministry that provides spiritual encouragement and prayer for interested older adults. These services allow Renewing Life drivers to build relationships with older adults and deliver personalized care. To arrange transportation with Renewing Life, call 619-517-3239.
Additional transportation services can be found in the Ride Well to Age Well Guide, a resource guide created by experts in the fields of transportation and transit, aging, and social services as part of the Age Well San Diego initiative.
Specialized transportation services are essential for older adults to maintain their independence and be connected to needed services. Many organizations and services, such as the ones listed above, accommodate these needs in various capacities for older adults in San Diego.