Older People Are About to Get a Lift!

You might have heard. If not, here is the news—Lyft, a new ride-sharing company established in the US, is coming to Canada. It’s influence is spreading, and it may be coming to your town next.

This is welcome news to people who can’t or don’t drive, especially at night, now that they are older. Ride sharing is a boon to older people. Losing our mobility is among our greatest fears as we age. It represents inconvenience, isolation and its most dreaded companion—loneliness.

I’ve been keeping an eye on ride-sharing ever since I first heard about the service—how you can hail an affordable ride, apparently, with the touch of your phone and have it arrive at your doorstep, ready to take you wherever you want to go. The bonus is the assurance that the same service would pick you up and take you home when you are ready.

Why Lyft will do better than Uber in Canada

Choosing to launch in Canada’s largest city, this is Lyft’s first expansion outside of the United States. As ride-sharing platforms go, however, Lyft is not new. It’s predecessor, Uber, has been operating in large cities all over the world, and has been in Canada for years. Uber has a cloud over its head, though. It seems to have broken its trust, a necessary component in any service intended for older people. Ushered in by highly publicised street battles with taxi drivers, who objected to its unlicensed status and fearing a take over of their passengers, Uber couldn’t seem to change its negative image.

Even today, several years after those early skirmishes, Uber has not solved its regulatory problems, and is banned from some cities. Whether it’s deserved or not, it has gained a reputation as an insular, money-focused company, exhibiting a lack of support of its own drivers and a callous attitude toward customers.

Lyft, on the other hand, has nurtured a positive first impression. In advance of its arrival in Toronto next month, it has promoted a mission and vision of community and friendliness. This will carry over into drivers interacting with passengers in a positive way, a promise that older people value.

A thoughtful vision in sync with us Olders

Tim Houghton, general manager for Lyft in Toronto,  says that launching in Canada’s largest city and the fourth-biggest in North America is no accident.

Heres what he said, as reported in Huffington Post on Monday:

“We think Lyft’s values align really well with Toronto’s and we know there’s demand. We see an opportunity for ourselves in providing a better experience for everyone involved,”

Early indications promise a stellar beginning. At least 50,000 people in Toronto have downloaded the Lyft app this year in anticipation of its arrival. Several thousand drivers contacted Lyft’s U.S. website prior to Monday’s beginning recruitment.

The service intends to expand beyond Toronto. Plans are in place to extend it as far north as Newmarket, Ontario. This is a good indication to people who hope the service will be offered in other Canadian cities.

And I’m especially over the moon over this…

My searches took me to a mention of Lyft in a website that offers unique services to older people, GoGoGrandparent.

“GogoGrandparent wants to let folks live in their home for as long as possible. We started because a grandmother’s license was expiring, she had glaucoma in both eyes and was facing a future where she would be dependent on others.

By using on demand technology in a way she could understand, we were able to change that.

Today GoGoGrandparent connects seniors to ride sharing services like Lyft. Soon we’ll be doing the same thing for meals, groceries and medicine. We are working towards a platform that loved ones and their families can use to take care of each other without upending life.”

I’m not endorsing GoGoGrandparent, although it may be a perfectly exemplary company—I don’t know much about its operation. But I like its perspective. Any company sensitive to the needs of older people has my vote, and will get my business. So take a bow, Lyft and GoGoGrandparent—we could use more companies like yours!

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19 Responses to Older People Are About to Get a Lift!

  1. left a reply – now it’s gone…

  2. virginiafair says:

    Will the Lyft cars be wearing their pink mustaches like they do here?

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      I thought the mustaches were, as all mustaches go, an attention getter! That is not to say I liked it! Not being in the know about this aspect of Lyft, I’ll leave it to others to comment about it LOL!

  3. We would love something like that, but we live in a small town, so it’s not apt to happen here. Sigh….

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      I’m thinking it will be a loooong time before we can see it in Victoria. But there will be clones of the service, so who knows? We could all be using it before we know it.

  4. Rummuser says:

    We have Uber and its local competitor Ola very active here and after a couple of unsavoury experiences with the former, I have been using the latter for all my trips out of my neighbourhood. They do offer a share scheme as well but it is cumbersome and some times the waiting to gather enough passengers can be painful. Someone exclusively doing only share work for elders perhaps can overcome these problems and so I look forward to its launch here soon. That it will be launched is a given.

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      Good to know! Once older people get on board with a service, it can grow rapidly! Most companies value our participation!

  5. Derrick John Knight says:

    Good news

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      Thanks, Derrick, but I can tell from your blog that you and Jackie have no difficulty getting out and about!

  6. Clive says:

    I hope the new service works out well. There need to be alternatives to Uber, which suffers the same bad reputation here and is currently fighting to overturn the Mayor of London’s decision not to renew their licence. If they fail it will be a huge commercial blow for them. Here’s hoping…..

  7. Mike Goad says:

    Living in rural Arkansas, I don’t think that we’ll ever see anything like that. However, the Area Agency on Aging provides Non-Emergency Transportation to Medical Appointments (NET) for seniors with no other transportation as well as Rural Public Transportation that can be used for shopping, personal needs, nutrition centers, and much more. This is a service for all ages, but must be scheduled 48 hours in advance and has limited capacity so it’s first come, first served.

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      Good to know there are some transportation alternatives for seniors in your area. I know we have something along those lines here, although I think, as in your case, it has limitations.

  8. Aunt Beulah says:

    Interesting, Diane, that I should read your post about the boon Lyft and GoGoGrandparent can be to us older folks shortly after reading about the boon fleets of driverless cars will be to seniors and people unable to afford a car of their own. But, like many of your readers, it will be a long time before any of these services are available in my small town where most of those with a need still rely on the kindness of family, friends and neighbors.

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      I’ve lived in a small town, and know that cities get the advantages a whole lot quicker. And I know I’m writing about possibilities very much into the future. But I do think the world is so much smaller, and moving so much faster now, that we need to be alert about what goes on everywhere—what a tall order, LOL! And thank goodness for the kindness of family, friends and neighbors!

  9. Hi Diane! Congratulations on getting Lyft in Canada. I haven’t tried them myself but I agree that they are supposed to be better than Uber in many ways. And I agree that the new ride-sharing model is a great advantage to those of advanced age that may not have a car. Not only that, they also offer a way for many people to work and earn some extra income. A win-win for many people. ~Kathy

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