A company called GoGoGrandparent designed a service to help older adults travel around town more easily.
GoGoGrandparent aims to allow older adults to connect with rideshare services without needing a smartphone. Customers can call the company’s operators who can schedule them a ride with Lyft or Uber.
The company has been active for three years and has served more than 100,000 riders, Marketing Manager Darren Hsu said. The top places that riders are taken are to grocery stores and doctor’s appointments.
Hsu said the company started as a way for the founder, Justin Boogaard, to help his grandmother get access to transportation without having a smartphone.
“They felt that it’s super helpful to visually impaired people, not just seniors but visually impaired people also, just anyone that doesn’t feel comfortable using a smartphone, if they’re not comfortable driving at night, or just not comfortable driving at all anymore or they don’t want to deal with using a smartphone anymore or just using the app, then GoGoGrandparent can be a supplement to that,” Hsu said.
Operators are available at any time to take ride requests, Hsu said. GoGoGrandparent charges 27 cents per minute plus the driver fees of Lyft and Uber, and ride cost estimates are given beforehand. Riders pay via credit card.
GoGoGrandparent also has a feature that sends updates to the rider’s family or loved ones for when the rider is en route and when they have arrived at their destination, Hsu said.
Parker County Committee on Aging also provides transportation services to people over the age of 60 in Weatherford, PCCOA Executive Director Shelly Mowery said. These trips are free for seniors.
“We feel that that’s the right thing to do because most of them are on a fixed income, and they don’t want to drive anymore, and I don’t blame them,” Mowery said. “I don’t want them driving either, by the way.”
More than 180 seniors used the PCCOA transportation service in May, Mowery said. The most common destination for Weatherford seniors using PCCOA’s service is to the grocery store, but the service does not take seniors to medical appointments because it is uncertain how long the appointment will take and what condition the senior will be in after leaving the appointment.
Mowery said she had not heard of GoGoGrandparent before and is not sure of the need but said seniors do need transportation options. She hopes PCCOA’s transportation program may expand to add another bus and driver.
“I guess it’s down to what people can afford and what’s convenient,” Mowery said.
Weatherford resident David Rodriguez, 62, used GoGoGrandparent a few weeks ago when he was getting his car repaired in Arlington. Rodriguez was having trouble connecting with Uber and Lyft, so he found GoGoGrandparent online.
Rodriguez said he used the service again in Weatherford and was impressed with the price and timeliness of GoGoGrandparent.
“It’s a lot easier, and some of the older people don’t have access to these pretty phones and don’t know how to use them,” Rodriguez said. “[With GoGoGrandparent] there’s a human being that you can talk to and tell them what you need.”