How Does Uber Work for Aging Adults or Seniors?

Updated

Seniors are often unable to drive, for various reasons. Their eyesight might not be good enough anymore, or they might just feel uncomfortable behind the wheel. Luckily, plenty of transportation alternatives for seniors exist. Rideshare services like Uber can help seniors reclaim their independence and go where they want to go when they want to go there.

But using Uber might be intimidating for a senior who’s unfamiliar with ridesharing or similar services. And it’s important to make sure the seniors in your life understand the pros and cons of Uber, as well as how to use it safely. 

Jump ahead to these sections:

Below, we’ll outline how seniors can sign up for Uber (without a smartphone), request and pay for rides, and use the service wisely. We’ll also look at some of the alternatives to Uber and answer some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to seniors using Uber. 

How Do Seniors Sign up for Uber Without a Smartphone?

One of Uber’s most intimidating factors for seniors is that it’s primarily a smartphone-based service. Luckily, Uber recognizes this issue, and they’ve made it possible for seniors to use Uber without a smartphone.

Skip the signup: Uber has partnered with RideWith24, which lets seniors arrange Uber rides without going through all of the steps below. You can simply call 1-833-743-3924 to arrange your ride with the help of an operator. Unfortunately, this service is currently only available in some locations. 

To sign up for Uber without a smartphone, here’s what you’ll need to do. 

Uber on your computer

Anyone without a smartphone can sign up and request a ride via Uber’s mobile website, m.uber.com. You can access the site on your desktop or laptop computer, without using your smartphone. A phone number is still required to sign up for Uber. 

Once you’re on the Uber site, just enter your (or the senior’s) phone number, and then click “Next.” If the number isn’t already linked to an account, the site will ask you to sign up. 

You’ll need to enter a name, phone number, email address, and a new password for the account. 

Text confirmation

When you enter a phone number, Uber will confirm the number by texting you a code, which you’ll need to enter on the website. 

Every time you log into your account on the computer, you’ll need to enter this same phone number. And Uber will intermittently reconfirm your number at sign-in through the same text-code process. 

So while a senior doesn’t have to have a smartphone to create an Uber account, it’s easier to do so if they at least have a phone with texting. 

Bypassing the text confirmation

If the senior doesn’t have a cell phone with texting capabilities, they can use someone else’s phone number (a friend or family member) to get through the confirmation process. 

They’ll be able to request rides without accessing that phone in the future, but they’ll still need to enter the phone number to log into their account. 

And the friend or family member who owns the phone won’t be able to create a separate Uber account using that same number.

How Do You Request and Pay for a Ride?

Once a senior is signed up for Uber, it’s easy to request and pay for a ride using the same website linked above. Here’s exactly how they can do that, step-by-step. (As mentioned above, seniors in some cities can also call RideWith24 to arrange an Uber ride without signing up for an Uber account.) 

Step 1: Log into the Uber mobile website. 

Once again, visit m.uber.com. This is Uber’s mobile website, but you can access it from any computer. Log in using the same phone number you signed up with and the password you created. 

Uber might send you another confirmation code via text, depending on how long it’s been since you signed in and which device you’re using. 

Step 2: Enter a pick-up location and drop-off location. 

Uber will take you to a screen that asks, “Where can we pick you up?” Simply enter your current address where you want a driver to pick you up, or enable the geolocation feature on your computer. 

Once that’s entered, Uber will ask you to enter your destination. Then it will show you both locations on the map and let you know if any drivers are available right now. You can also select a future date and time. 

Step 3: Choose your ride. 

You’ll see the locations of drivers on the map, as well as listed on the left side of the screen. You can select different types of drivers, like UberX or UberGreen, depending on their availability. You’ll also see the price of each ride. 

Just click on the ride you want to choose. Make sure that the pickup time is when you want it to be. 

Step 4: Enter your payment method. 

If you haven’t already entered a method of payment, Uber will ask you to do that now. It accepts credit and debit cards, gift cards, and PayPal. 

Step 5: Pay automatically when you arrive.

Your card won’t be charged until you’ve successfully arrived at your destination. Then the amount shown to you upfront on the website will be charged to your payment method. If the ride changed partway through for any reason, the price might change. 

You can tip your driver in cash, or you can tip via the Uber site. Uber will email you a ride confirmation, from which you can click “Add a tip.” You can also go to the m.uber.com site, select the trip from your trip history, and click “Add a tip.”

Are There Any Good Alternatives to Uber for Seniors?

Sometimes, it falls on us children to discourage aging parents from driving. Luckily, Uber isn’t the only option when it comes to ridesharing for seniors. If Uber isn’t available in your area, or you want to try something else, here are your options. 

Lyft

Lyft is another ridesharing giant, and like Uber, Lyft has been improving its outreach to seniors. Like Uber, Lyft works with partners to take ride requests over the phone, which could be a major plus for many seniors. 

Go Go Grandparent

Go Go Grandparent recognized that managing Uber and Lyft could be difficult for seniors. It’s a call-in service that specifically helps seniors arrange rides without using smartphones and texting. 

Go Go Grandparent even dispatches “professional grandchildren” to help the ride go smoothly. 

Silver Ride

Silver Ride offers a more holistic approach to transportation. Its drivers and employees often spend time with the client’s family and help them plan outings. The drivers go inside a client’s house to help them get out to the car, and they’ll walk the client into their destination, too.

Drivers can even accompany clients to events like ballgames and movies or to run errands like picking up groceries.  

Unfortunately, Silver Ride is currently available only around the San Francisco and Kansas City areas. 

Uber for Seniors: Frequently Asked Questions

For seniors (and everyone else), using a ridesharing service can be confusing and overwhelming, at first. But once you figure out the basics and get the system down, Uber can make life simpler and more convenient. 

To help you get to that point, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Uber for seniors. 

Does Uber offer a senior discount?

Unfortunately, Uber doesn’t offer any senior discounts at this time. 

How does Uber work for disabled seniors?

Uber is working towards expanding and improving its services for disabled riders. It does offer WAV (wheelchair-accessible vehicles), but these might not always be available in your area. You’ll see WAV vehicles listed in the available rides when you enter your pickup location and destination. 

Uber also requires drivers to comply with its service animal policy, so seniors with disabilities can travel with their animals in Uber. 

However, Uber has been the target of lawsuits for violating ADA policies. 

What’s the difference between Uber and Lyft for seniors?

Lyft and Uber are very similar in terms of their services for seniors. Both let you request rides via a mobile site, and both have partnered with other companies that arrange rides by phone. Both services have issues with ADA compliance and accessible vehicles. 

However, Uber is available in more cities and rural areas, and its riders often find it more reliable than Lyft. 

Independence for Seniors

By the year 2030, an estimated one in five Americans will be over the age of 65. And that makes seniors the single fastest-growing population in the United States. 

Seniors are an important part of our cities, our states, and our nation. But when they’re isolated by a lack of transportation, they might miss out on family and community activities. Even more importantly, they might end up skipping vital medical check-ups and appointments because they have no help getting to the doctor

While loved ones can help provide transportation, seniors often avoid asking for help from those closest to them. Rideshare services can help and provide a renewed sense of independence. So if you’re looking for a way to help elderly parents or grandparents, consider assisting them with Uber or another ride service. 


Sources:

  1. “Independence for older adults.” Uber. 
  2. “Accessibility using Uber.” Uber. https://www.uber.com/us/en/about/accessibility/#riders
  3. Olson, Emma. “Court rules that lawsuit against Uber for ADA violations can continue.” Access Living. 20 December 2018. https://www.accessliving.org/newsroom/policy-positions-and-legal-cases/court-rules-lawsuit-against-uber-for-ada-violations-can-continue/
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