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Is There A Lyft For Seniors?

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According to statistics, as of early 2018, about 23 million people worldwide have traveled with the ridesharing service Lyft. The figure was projected to go up to around 29 million by the end of 2019. While Lyft may seem like a convenient option for those who can’t easily get around, is there a Lyft service just for seniors?

Lyft works with GreatCall, a Jitterbug medical alert and phone company, to offer a rideshare service for seniors. They don’t even have to use the app to schedule a ride. Instead, they can go on their GreatCall phone, type zero, and an operator will schedule the Lyft.

In this article, we will elaborate more on the partnership between Lyft and GreatCall, explaining what it is and its benefits. We’ll also talk about whether seniors can get discounts on their Lyft rides or even use Lyft for free.

What Are Lyft Rides for Senior Citizens?

Lyft is a ridesharing service that began in 2012. As for this writing, it serves Canada (nine cities) and the United States (640 cities and counting).

To get started with Lyft, one only has to download the free app. Then, shortly before you want to ride, go on the app, choose your starting point and give your destination, and select a car. Then, simply sit back wait for the vehicle to arrive.

You do need to be at least 18 years old to use Lyft, but otherwise, no other age restrictions for riders exist.

What about seniors who want to hitch a ride on Lyft? Depending on their age and working background, they aren’t always tech-savvy, thus, they might not understand today’s smartphones. That is, if they even own a smartphone in the first place as many seniors would rather stick to less complicated cell phones.

A service like Lyft can benefit seniors in many ways. If a senior can no longer drive for health reasons, then they now have a means of getting around independently. They don’t have to call their adult children or a caretaker to take them where they want to go. Lyft is often cheaper than most cab services as well (we’ll talk more about pricing in the next two sections, so keep reading!).

Lyft is a ridesharing service that began in 2012. As for this writing, it serves Canada (nine cities) and the United States (640 cities and counting).

To get started with Lyft, one only has to download the free app. Then, shortly before you want to ride, go on the app, choose your starting point and give your destination, and select a car. Then, simply sit back wait for the vehicle to arrive.

You do need to be at least 18 years old to use Lyft, but otherwise, no other age restrictions for riders exist.

What about seniors who want to hitch a ride on Lyft? Depending on their age and working background, they aren’t always tech-savvy, thus, they might not understand today’s smartphones. That is, if they even own a smartphone in the first place as many seniors would rather stick to less complicated cell phones.

A service like Lyft can benefit seniors in many ways. If a senior can no longer drive for health reasons, then they now have a means of getting around independently. They don’t have to call their adult children or a caretaker to take them where they want to go. Lyft is often cheaper than most cab services as well (we’ll talk more about pricing in the next two sections, so keep reading!).

Lyft For Seniors Without Smartphones

The need to use the Lyft app to schedule rides could present a major hurdle for some seniors. That’s why, as we mentioned, Lyft has introduced a service just for its senior riders – they have partnered with GreatCall. This company is owned by Jitterbug, which also makes the Lively Wearable smartwatch, the Lively Mobile Plus medical alert device, the Jitterbug Flip phone, and the Jitterbug Smart2, a more advanced smartphone.

Each of these devices is designed for seniors who don’t possess a wealth of tech knowledge. For instance, to schedule a Lyft ride, there’s no need to download the app and try to figure out how to use it (then remember those instructions). Instead, a senior can use GreatCall via their Jitterbug phone to set up their ride.

To schedule the ride:

  • The senior just opens their Jitterbug/GreatCall phone and pushes zero. Yes, it’s that easy!
  • They’ll then get connected to an operator. Once connected, the senior can ask the operator to book the Lyft ride for them through the Lyft Concierge.
  • The operator will schedule the pick up and tell the senior when to be ready for the ride.
  • If the senior needs help climbing into or out of the vehicle, they should let the operator know. This information will be passed on so the Lyft driver knows so they need to accommodate the person.
  • Then, get in the car and go!

Another nice feature is that seniors are not charged through Lyft for their rides, but rather, the fee shows up on their GreatCall phone bill. This means they don’t have to worry about carrying cash if they need transportation, nor do they need to fear handing their credit card over to a stranger.

Does Lyft Offer Senior Discounts?

Through our research, it does not appear that Lyft provides senior discounts. While Lyft is relatively inexpensive, it’s still a good idea to know how much you’d pay to use it. The site EstimateFares.com has a handy chart that shows Lyft costs (the table below is courtesy of EstimateFares.com).

 Average Rates & Costs To Ride

Initial Cost Service Fee Per Minute Per Mile Minimum Fare
Lyft $0.90 $1.90 $0.09 $0.90 $3.50
Lyft Plus $1.50 $1.90 $0.18 $1.50 $4.70
Premier $3.50 $1.90 $0.30 $2.05 $10.00

Lyft has several types of rides:

  • There are standard Lyft rides for one or two passengers.
  • If you have more than two and up to five other people with you, then you need a Lyft Plus.
  • If a group is larger than five people, Lyft Premier vehicles offer even more room, but at a higher rate.

The initial cost for a standard Lyft is $0.90. Additionally, you’ll pay $0.90 per mile for the ride, plus $0.09 per minute, as well. A $1.90 service fee gets added in, too. So, this means you will pay at least $3.50 for any standard ride, but expect prices to be higher.

For a Lyft Plus, you’re charged an initial cost of $1.50. The per-mile charge is also $1.50, the per-minute charge $0.18, and the service fee $1.90. Your ride would start at $4.70.

If you opted to ride a Lyft Premium, the initial cost is $3.50. Per mile, you’d pay $2.05, per minute, it is $0.30, and then there’s a service fee of $1.90. That puts your starting costs at around $10.

Now, keep in mind, those starting costs are just that. They’re rarely what you ultimately pay. The price will likely go up depending on how far you need to go.

The time of day you choose to ride also matters. For all Lyft rides, the price increases as the demand for rides increases. If you book a ride during Prime Time (for example: during rush hour or after a sporting event gets out in your area), your fare could be considerably higher.

While it’s customary to tip Lyft drivers, since a senior would use GreatCall to set up the ride, there is no need for tipping.

READ MORE: 5 Must Have Auto Products For Elderly Drivers, Plus One More

Can Seniors Get Free Rides Through Lyft?

Lyft does not do free rides, per se, but since a senior wouldn’t use the Lyft app to schedule the ride, it would come across looking like it was free, at least initially. Do keep in mind what we said before: all Lyft rides show up on the GreatCall phone bill. There’s no such thing as a totally free ride unless Lyft is offering a promotional deal.

For instance, those new to the service can input a promo code to earn themselves a ride credit. The value of the ride can be as high as $50. Lyft riders can then use that credit to cover their rides, so it’s like getting $50 in free rides.

Again, though, considering seniors likely wouldn’t use the Lyft app itself, they wouldn’t be ineligible to earn such a credit. It also does only apply to those who have just registered to use Lyft. Seasoned riders can’t use the credit, either.

What Is the Lyft for Seniors Phone Number?

As we covered earlier, seniors who want to book a ride with Lyft around their city or town only need to push zero on their GreatCall smartphone or flip phone. There’s no need to remember a long phone number or any number, really. It’s just a single digit, zero. This connects the senior to an operator who will get them to the Lyft Concierge for scheduling.

How to Order Lyft for Seniors without a Smartphone


What if a senior doesn’t have a smartphone? Can they still get a Lyft ride around town? Yes, absolutely.

The Jitterbug Flip through GreatCall isn’t a smartphone. It’s designed in the older but simpler flip phone style.

The Jitterbug Flip includes a magnifier and flashlight, voice dialing, a bright screen, and large buttons that are very easy to push. The menu is simplified, and there’s even a 2.0-megapixel camera.

Additionally, the 5Star emergency button gives the senior one-touch access to IAED-certified agents for medical or emergency services, 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

It also has powerful speakers and has the highest hearing aid compatibility rating (M4/T4) . This means that seniors who use hearing aids can rest assured they’ll be able to hear the person on the other end.

There are no contracts and no cancellation fees with GreatCall. Calling plans are flexible and start around as low as $14.99 per month.

The phone must be activated through GreatCall on their website or by calling 1-800-733-6632.

Is Lyft Safe For Seniors?

Ridesharing services have their concerns, but Lyft is generally safe for seniors to use. Their drivers must be at least 21 years of age and have a valid, current driver’s license. They also must have a minimum of one year of driving experience and are required to carry current insurance.

All drivers are screened before they are permitted to drive for the company. This is done through both DMV checks of their driving record and background checks via a third party.

These background check include a nationwide criminal search, social security number trace, sex offender registry search and a search of the county court records.

Lyft has a no smoking policy for drivers, as well as a zero tolerance policy for drug or alcohol use.

The driver’s vehicle must have four doors (not including a hatch or jump door). It must meet a minimum age and condition. It is also subjected to the same safety standards that cities and states require (for example: having seat belts).

One of the most important things a senior can do when using any ride share service is to be certain they are getting into the correct car!

When they book a Lyft (or other ride sharing company), the senior should be given the driver’s name. They will also get a description of the car that will be picking them up (color, make and model), as well as the car’s license plate number. No one should ever get into a car without first checking that it is actually the one that was sent by the company.

If the car and license plate number match, the senior should still ask the driver for their name, and can also ask who the driver is looking for and what the destination will be. This way, they are double-checking that the correct person is picking them up.

Companies That Also Offer Ridesharing for Seniors

Besides Lyft, you might be inclined to give these other ridesharing services for seniors a try:

Which Is Better for Seniors: Uber or Lyft?

While Lyft has been the focus of this article, as you can see it’s not the only major ridesharing service in town. Uber, its fierce rival, presents viable competition.

While Lyft uses GreatCall, Uber has partnered with a concierge service that will arrange transportation, called RideWith24.

There are two downsides to this service, though. For one, only seniors in Texas, California, and Arizona can take advantage of RideWith24. Also, rather than push zero, RideWith24 requires you to dial a whole phone number to schedule a ride. That number is 1-800-522-1516. It’s toll-free, but it’s still inconvenient compared to using GreatCall to schedule a Lyft.

RideWith24 does have operators at the ready. However, rather than charging the ride to a phone bill like GreatCall does, you will need to have your credit card ready to book an Uber trip. Some seniors might not have credit cards. If they do, perhaps they are fearful of having their number stolen or may not have them handy all the time. Either way, using RideWith24 presents one difficulty after another that a senior has to overcome in order to get an Uber ride. They might as well download the Uber app and contend with that.

Keep in mind that Uber does allow senior centers to arrange rides through UberCentral, but this is strictly for use by facilities, not individuals.

Uber also has a provision whereby a friend or relative can arrange for an Uber pick up for a senior, so that an elder without a smartphone can still get a ride. However, this is still complicated because they have to call the relative, the relative has to get on their Uber app and plug in the information, then get back to the senior to tell them which car to expect, etc.

For the above reasons, we have to recommend Lyft over Uber for seniors. Their partnership with GreatCall makes Lyft a convenient, viable solution for seniors who want to get out of the house but aren’t necessarily tech-savvy. You don’t need a smartphone to book a Lyft ride, nor do you need to remember a phone number or have your credit card number in front of you.

With the two services very similar to each other, it’s surprising that Uber would make senior ridesharing as difficult as they have.

Conclusion

Not every senior has access to a car, and some can no longer drive. Instead of asking caretakers or family members to cart them around, seniors can maintain a degree of independence with a ridesharing service.

While several services permeate the market, we recommend Lyft above all. Their current partnership with GreatCall, a part of Jitterbug, makes it easier than ever to get a senior-accessible phone for making calls.

Booking a Lyft ride is simple, too. Just push zero on the phone keypad and an operator will take care of the rest. The charge then appears on your GreatCall phone bill. You won’t find that kind of ease of use elsewhere.

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