Traveling and getting around town can be a hassle no matter your age, but the older you get, the less you may want to deal with navigating traffic. For some, the places we need to be are just a short car ride away. If you’re traveling, that short car ride is preceded by a cross-country flight. Whether you’re a little apprehensive about driving due to health-related issues or you simply just don’t want to make the drive, check out a rideshare company.
Only eight percent of people age 50-64 and only four percent of people age 65 or older have used a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft, according to a study from Pew Research Center. With user-friendly apps, wide availability, cheap rates and even senior-focused versions, rideshare companies let you stay mobile and independent.
Popular rideshare services
Uber: an Uber ride will cost you around $0.90 to $2.35 per mile, depending on the time of day and how busy the service is. If your family or friends are within 15-20 miles of your home or the airport you fly into you’re looking at fairly cheap fare.
Lyft: Lyft rates run around the same as Uber, about $0.90 to $3.50 per mile.
– Cost from the airport with Uber: $15-$20* – Cost from the airport with Lyft: $15-$20*
GoGoGrandparent: this service lets you call one number to schedule an Uber or Lyft, eliminating the need to set up an Uber or Lyft account and use their apps. Once you call the number you can:
- Press 1 to request a car to your home
- Press 2 to request a car to pick you up where you were dropped off last
- Press 3, 4, or 5 to schedule a custom pickup location
- Press 6 to schedule a ride with an operator
You can also add custom locations to your personalized touch-tone menu, schedule recurring rides for appointments or future travel dates and have text message updates sent to your family and friends with your current status. GoGoGrandparent costs $0.27 per minute plus the Uber or Lyft fare.
– Cost from the airport with GoGoGrandparent: $20-$35*
uberASSIST: think Uber for those who need special accommodations. uberASSIST vehicles can fit folding wheelchairs, walkers and collapsible scooters. They don’t, however, have ramps or lifts. Drivers are trained and educated on how to assist those with mobility and disability challenges. For example, they can help transfer you too and from your wheelchair. Fares are the same as regular Uber with an additional 10 percent service fee.
– Cost from the airport with uberASSIST: $17-$22*
Lift Hero: still new (only available in the San Francisco area), Lift Hero is a rideshare service startup specifically for seniors.
Both Uber and Lyft have about 95 percent coverage across the United States and offer luxury rides and large vehicles if you’re traveling with more than four or five people. Drivers undergo multiple background checks before they’re hired. Both mobile apps are user-friendly letting you sign up by inputting your phone number and choosing your form of payment – credit card or Apple Pay. Payment is automatic once your ride is complete and there’s even an option to split the fare if you’re riding with multiple people and give a tip.
If you don’t want to mess with setting up an account and scheduling your own rides, or if you have a disability that requires special assistance when it comes to transportation, there’s still a rideshare for you. Below are rideshare services designed with seniors in mind.
Clients can schedule a ride on the company’s website, either in advance or on the spot, and even request a specific driver. Lift Hero is unique because of the specialized training its drivers receive, with most drivers being people studying to be healthcare professionals. First aid and CPR certifications are a requirement for Lift Hero drivers. Lift Hero is a door-to-door service, meaning drivers assist seniors too and from the car, help with groceries or bags and sit and wait for clients while they’re in an appointment.
Lift Hero charges $35 per hour ($35 minimum) with a $20 per hour charge if you want your driver to wait on you while you’re in an appointment.
– Cost from the airport with Lift Hero: $35*
*based on a distance of 15-20 miles
Benefits of using a rideshare service
As we age, a decrease in mobility, eyesight and hearing eventually leads to having trouble driving and, for some, losing the ability to drive altogether. But with rideshare services, it doesn’t have to mean losing your independence. In fact, budgeting for a rideshare service instead of a car and the expenses that come with one might be more convenient as you age. Aside from travel, imagine not having to deal with parking and traffic for things like going out to eat, seeing a concert or going to an appointment.
Using a rideshare service is quickly becoming cheaper than owning a car, according to a report from the online insurance comparison marketplace, QuoteWizard. It estimates relying solely on a rideshare service will be cheaper than owning a car by 2027. While owning your own car is still cheaper right now, annual rideshare costs are catching up.
|Annual Cost of Owning a Car
Using a Rideshare Service
|Average Annual Cost of a Car*||Average Annual Cost of a Rideshare Service**|
|Avg. Car Payment – $4,452 per year||Avg. Daily Rideshare Trip in Seattle – $19.89|
|Avg. Cost of Gas – $1,523 per year||Avg. Daily Rideshare Trip in Denver – $19.59|
|Avg. Cost of Insurance – $1,250 per year||Avg. Annual Seattle Total = $13,963|
|Avg. Cost of Maintenance/Repair – $1,186 per year||Avg. Annual Denver Total = $13,755|
|Avg. Cost of Depreciation – $2,840 per year|
|Total = $11,251|
*Averages based on 15,000 miles driven per year in a midsize SUV (AAA and Insure.com) **Source: QuoteWizard report
The price of using a rideshare service is expected to drop even more if rideshare companies figure out how to safely implement driverless vehicles.
Bottom line on rideshare services
If you are unable to drive or find yourself not wanting to deal with traffic and parking, you have options. Whether you’re traveling for the holidays, vacationing or getting out for every-day errands and activities, using a rideshare service will keep you mobile and independent no matter where you are.