On an unusually cold Saturday morning in a crowded Dallas restaurant, a group of waiters started pushing tables together, grabbing chairs and laying out menus for a large group. A few minutes later, one by one a group of 17 retirees gathered for brunch. One kind man in his 70s welcomed his friends, told them how glad he was to see them, and joked about how the entire group should watch “Jim” to make sure he doesn’t wander off next door to grab a hamburger.
“The brunch menu here,” he assured the group, “is excellent.”
The group chuckled and resumed with small talk. Then I overheard something really interesting. One man leaned over to another and said “Hey Bob, who brought you here today?”
Bob answered, “I got an Uber.”
The CDC has documented an increased risk among drivers aged 70+. This increased risk isn’t only due to age-related declines in vision or hearing, it has much to do with increased vulnerability to injuries and medical complications.
Safety aside, if the idea of fighting traffic or for a parking spot gives you chills, you’re not alone. Even a trip to get groceries can be a real hassle. Of course owning, maintaining, insuring and fuel for a car is expensive too. We recently wrote about self-driving cars being a great technological solution for seniors, but for many, that isn’t a realistic option.
So if you’re ready to put the keys aside, there may be another technological solution for you. It’s called Uber, and it’s really easy to use.
Uber is a ride-sharing phone app, which is the modern-day equivalent of a taxi cab – but much better. It’s not the only one of its kind, but it seems to be the most popular. With the app you can request a ride to or from just about any place in the United States. Here is an example of a trip across town in Dallas to the Museum:
Riding with an Uber driver is about as safe as riding in a taxi. The company does background checks on drivers and makes sure the drivers have newer cars that are insured. The company also has a rating system for drivers that is intended to make sure good drivers stay on the road, and bad drivers are disqualified. It may be a good idea to ride with a friend, keep your phone nearby, and wait inside for your driver to arrive. If you’re ready to give it a try, keep reading to find out how.
You probably already have one, but without one you can’t operate the app.
Go to the app store in your smartphone, and search for “Uber.” This looks a little different depending on the kind of phone you have, but the process shouldn’t require more than a few keystrokes.
The app will ask for your name, an email account, and your payment details. Like a taxi, you won’t be charged until you take a ride.
When you’re ready to go somewhere, you can open the app. There are probably Uber drivers in your area now, so one is likely only a few minutes away. Enter your destination address and confirm your pickup location. The app will tell you how far away a driver is, so you can plan to be at the curb as soon as they arrive. The driver may call you to confirm details.
The driver will know where to go based on the information you entered into the app. He or she will confirm your name and may also confirm your destination before you leave. When you arrive at your destination, the app will calculate your fare based on the distance (just like the meter in a taxi). It’s a cashless system, so you don’t have to pay the driver in person. The app will charge the credit card you put on file.
Ride sharing apps like Uber can be really useful and convenient. When you’re ready to put down the keys, maybe you should consider it too.