Hop in! Ride-sharing isn't just for Millennials

Uber, Left make mobility simple for seniors

Created date

January 2nd, 2018
Ride-sharing, or ride-hailing, is an easy, cost-effective alternative to hailing a taxi or arranging for private transportation.

Ride-sharing, or ride-hailing, is an easy, cost-effective alternative to hailing a taxi or arranging for private transportation.

It’s no tech industry secret that the sharing and digital economies are in full swing. These movements—which enable individuals to connect with other people who are willing to pay in some way for their skills or goods—have been steadily growing since the beginning of the decade, thanks in large part to the near ubiquity of Internet use and smartphone ownership. 

Perhaps the most popular way people are engaging in these new economies is through ride-hailing. Rather than waiting for a taxi or paying exorbitant prices to arrange private transportation, users can now download an app to their smartphone or tablet and request a ride—driven by an individual in their own vehicle—immediately.

So how does it work? Once you download your preferred app, sign up for an account. Most will ask you to input credit card information, which allows you to easily pay for rides right from your device. Tip: Make sure location services are turned on for the app so your ride requests are quicker and more accurate.

When you’re all set up, choose the pickup location. It should automatically select your current location, but you can change it if necessary. Then, add your destination address. Once you do this, you should see a price. You can also choose the type of car you want to request. (Be aware that different vehicles can alter the cost.) Then click “Request” and wait for your ride to arrive!

While a majority of American adults are familiar with ride-hailing apps and services, only 15% have ever used them, according to the Pew Research Center. And of the 4% of adults 65-plus who use ride-hailing apps, fewer than 1% do so regularly.  

But before those results make you believe ride-hailing isn’t for seniors, consider this one: almost three-quarters of regular users consider these services to be a good option for older adults. 

Especially for those living at senior communities where owning a car might not be necessary, thanks to on-campus amenities and transportation services, ride-hailing apps can be incredibly convenient. Not only can they save valuable time and energy, but they’re often more affordable and reliable than taxis or public transit. 

Here are some of the most popular options for ride-hailing and ride-sharing:


Uber is by far the most popular ride-hailing app, consistently outpacing Lyft in both downloads and average daily users. The ride requesting process is very simple (just as described above), but Uber’s high usage is likely due to it being more widely available in the U.S. and around the world. It also allows users to split fares (for a small charge), and some cities offer car seats. However, be aware of the surging prices during high-traffic times, like New Year’s Eve.


Lyft is the second-most-popular ride-hailing app, although recently it has been making marked gains in downloads and users, thanks to a generally rosier customer service reputation compared to their peers. Additionally, Lyft now offers a helpful feature aimed at attracting a broader senior audience: a concierge tool that allows rides to be requested on behalf of another person. 

Erickson Living is partnering with Lyft to pilot this concierge program at two of its 19 continuing care retirement communities. The communities are training most residents to use the smartphone app, but for users who may not be technologically savvy or require additional assistance, community staff members can request a Lyft driver for them through the web-based concierge tool. This will dramatically increase mobility for those who typically rely on family, friends, or other transportation services to get around.


Now available in 65 cities across the country, Curb lets users find, hail, and pay for traditional taxis from a smartphone app. You can request a cab immediately or schedule a time in the future. The app shares your driver’s name and the taxi number so you know exactly when your ride arrives. Curb provides a bit more certainty for more nervous riders: all drivers are professionals, fully licensed and insured.


This might not be considered a ride-hailing service, but it’s certainly a different way to share rides. Zipcar members have access to a worldwide network of vehicles that they can drive for a few hours or even a few days. Simply reserve an available Zipcar, unlock it with your Zipcard, and hit the road! When your reservation ends, return the vehicle to its designated spot and lock it back up. While this ride won’t come to your door, it can still be convenient for people who enjoy driving but want to skip the hassles of car ownership.