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Senior Living
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In Bella Comelo, seniors have a steadfast advocate

Seniors now have easy access to
rides on demand

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placeholder January 8, 2018   •   VOL. 56, NO. 1   •   Oakland, CA
Senior Living & Resources

Amy Stice, right, and her grandmother, Nina.
COURTESY PHOTOS

Seniors now have easy access to rides on demand

Last summer, I had some extra time to spend with my grandmother, who is now 94-years-old and lives in Moraga. She drives a well-loved Camry to all the places she feels comfortable: St. Monica's (right down the street), her local library and the Safeway. But whenever she wanted to go into downtown Walnut Creek or Lafayette, she'd call upon my aunt for a ride. And if my aunt wasn't available, Nina would reschedule her appointment.

 
For more information
Arrive Rides: 866-626-9879; www.arriverides.com
 
That summer, I pitched in on giving Nina rides around town, and was struck by how little she needed my help … except behind the wheel. My grandmother is confident on her feet and mentally sharp. All she needs is for someone to drive her around — which is what companies like Uber and Lyft do. Those companies allow their users to order a ride by pressing a single button on their smartphones, which summons a nearby car to come pick them up. It's easy, and simple, and I use those services all the time myself.

There was just one problem: Nina doesn't have a smartphone. In fact, 60 percent of people over the age of 65 don't have one, which means that on-demand transportation isn't available to the age group that may need it most.

I created Arrive Rides to solve this problem. What we do is simple: We connect people who don't have smartphones to the services of Lyft and Uber.

Arrive Rides members can call us from any type of phone — home phone, cell phone, the convenience desk of the grocery store — to request a ride. We handle the technology to dispatch a car through Lyft or Uber, and let our member know what kind of car is coming for them and when exactly it will arrive. We then call the driver to let them know how to find the member: "You're picking up my friend Gloria. She's a 70-year-old woman in a blue sweater and is standing in front of the pineapple display outside Trader Joe's."

We use Lyft and Uber's technology to see exactly where the car is at any given time, and ensure that the member is picked up as planned and on time. Any car dispatched can accommodate a foldable walker or wheelchair — so long as the member can move themselves from a mobility device into the car, the driver will handle collapsing the equipment and storing it in the trunk of the car. Many of Arrive's members let us know that they have a hard time getting into and out of SUVs; for those members we will always find a sedan.

When I tell people under 40 about my business, they assume it's a technology company. It's not; it's a service company. What we're doing is handling convenient and important technology for those who are not comfortable using it themselves. The truth is, a lot of Bay Area companies are focused on technology and leaving entire populations behind: those who aren't comfortable with computers, those who can't afford smartphones and those who are hesitant to try a new ride service. I created Arrive Rides so members could feel just as confident as if their daughter was coordinating their ride for them. We're here to help.

 
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