If you've given up your car keys or simply don't enjoy driving any longer, rideshare apps can be a convenient, safe tool to get you where you want to go. You can use these apps for transportation to medical appointments, social outings, and volunteer commitments––anywhere your heart desires to go! There are several rideshare apps out there, so we will break down how to use our top picks. Don't have a smartphone? No problem. We'll also fill you in on a rideshare service that doesn't require a smartphone.
Are Rideshare Apps Safe?
First, let's address the elephant in the room: are rideshare apps safe for seniors? Since rideshare apps require you to input your credit card number, it can be intimidating; we understand! The rideshare companies we mention below follow standard security practices, so entering your credit card information on their app is just as safe as entering it on any other online merchant website.
Rideshare companies also require their drivers to submit verifying documents such as a valid driver's license, proof of residency, and insurance. They also check criminal and driving histories before hiring a person as a driver. In other words, you can be confident that your rideshare driver is thoroughly vetted.
How to Use a Rideshare App on Your Smartphone
Rideshare apps, sometimes called ride-hailing apps, allow anyone to summon a ride using an app on their smartphone. It's like hailing a taxi, with a modern twist. Rideshare companies hire drivers, who often drive their personal cars, to pick up and transport people who need a ride. Most popular in urban areas, this service is ideal for seniors who no longer want to hassle with driving in traffic and car maintenance. We'll walk you through how to use Uber and Lyft, two popular rideshare apps, below.
How to Use Uber
Just like “Google” has become a verb, likewise, so has “Uber.” These days, it's common to hear someone say, “Let's Uber to dinner tonight.” To start Ubering, you'll first need to download the Uber app on your smartphone. Here's how!
Installing the Uber App
Step 1. Tap the App Store (for iPhones) or Google Play (for Android phones) icon on the home screen of your smartphone.
Step 2. Search “Uber” in the search bar.
Step 3. Tap the “Get” or “Install” button to download the app to your phone.
Step 4. Once it is finished downloading, open the app by returning to your home screen and tapping the Uber icon.
Setting Up Uber
Step 1. When you open the Uber app for the first time, you'll see something like this. Tap “Get Started.”
Step 2. Uber will request to use your location. We recommend tapping “Allow While Using App.” This is how an Uber driver will know where to pick you up, so it's important to give the app permission to use your location.
Step 3. Next, the app will ask you to input your mobile number. When you're done inputting your number, tap the gray arrow.
Step 4. Uber will text you a code to verify your phone number. Enter the verification code that was texted to you on the next screen, and then tap the gray arrow.
Step 5. Uber will want permission to send you notifications, like when your driver has arrived or sends you an update. We recommend tapping “Allow.”
Step 6. Tap “I understand” to agree to Uber's Community Guidelines.
How Do You Pay for an Uber Ride?
Before you request a ride, Uber will prompt you to enter a payment method. This is how you will pay for the service. You cannot use cash to pay for an Uber or leave a tip (more on tips below). Simply enter your credit card information to connect it to your Uber account. Don't worry; Uber will only charge you for your rides, and your credit card information is secure.
If you missed Uber's prompts to enter a payment method, here is how to enter it.
Step 1. Tap the three horizontal lines in the top left corner of the Uber home screen.
Step 2. Tap “Wallet.”
Step 3. Tap “Add Payment Method or Redeem Gift Card.”
Step 4. Tap “Credit or Debit Card.” (You could also use PayPal if you have an account.)
Step 5. Enter your card information and tap “Save.”
Requesting an Uber Ride
Once you're finished setting up your Uber account and payment details, you're ready to request your first ride!
Step 1. On the Uber app home screen, the blue dot indicates where you are on the map.
Step 2. If you'd like to schedule a ride for later in the day or even days in advance, you can do so. Tap “Now” and select your future time. If you want to request a ride immediately, tap “Where to?”
Step 3. Next, enter the address or name of the place you would like to Uber to.
Step 4. Once you enter the destination, Uber will show you a map of the route and the current wait time. The wait time is how long you will need to wait for an Uber to pick you up. You'll also see multiple Uber options and the estimated fare prices. Remember, this is the price for a one-way trip. You'll need to pay again if you want a ride back home or to another destination.
Step 5. Uber offers a variety of vehicle sizes. For example, an UberXL is more expensive than an UberX because it is a larger and more spacious vehicle. If you need someone to pick you up from the grocery store with lots of bags or have a walker with you, requesting a larger vehicle may be best. Simply tap the vehicle size you'd like.
Step 6. Once you have selected the Uber vehicle you want to pick you up, tap “Confirm” at the bottom.
Step 7. After you tap “Confirm,” your Uber driver will head your way. Uber will let you know their name, what they look like, their license plate number, and what kind of car they drive so you can spot them. You can call your driver if you're having trouble finding them or need to let them know something before they pick you up. Tap the phone button to give them a call.1
Step 8. Once your Uber arrives, simply hop in, relax, and enjoy the ride!
Do You Leave a Tip for Uber?
Just as you would tip a cab driver, you may wish to reward an Uber driver for excellent service. Though tipping is not required, tipping an Uber driver is very much appreciated. At the end of your ride, Uber will prompt you to rate your experience and give you the option to leave a tip for your driver. This is all done through your online payment method, so there is no need for cash.2
How to Use Lyft
Installing the Lyft App
Step 1. Open the Google Play or Apple App Store on the home screen of your smartphone.
Step 2. Search “Lyft” in the search bar.
Step 3. Tap the “Get” or “Install” button to download the app to your phone.
Step 4. Once it is finished downloading, open the app by returning to your home screen and tapping the Lyft icon.
Setting Up Your Lyft Account
Step 1. When you open the Lyft app, tap “Get started.”
Step 2. Allow Lyft to use your location. This is how your Lyft driver will know where to pick you up. Tap “Allow While Using App.”
Step 3. Next, enter your phone number and tap the purple arrow.
Step 4. Enter the verification code Lyft texts to your smartphone, then tap the purple arrow.
Step 5. Next, enter your name. You can just use a nickname or the first letter of your last name if you would prefer not to share your full name. Then, tap the purple arrow.
Step 6. Enter your email address and tap the same purple arrow from the steps above. Then, tap “I agree” to agree to Lyft's Terms of Service.
Step 7. Tap “Allow” to turn on notifications from your Lyft app.
Step 8. Enter your credit card information. This is how you will pay for Lyft rides. You can also use a Paypal account if you prefer. FYI: you can't use cash to pay for your ride or tip your driver.
Step 9. If you'd like, you can add a photo of yourself, so your Lyft driver can easily identify you upon pick up. If you'd like to skip this, just tap “Later.”
Step 10. Tap “Take a ride now” or “Get ready to ride later.”
Step 11. When this guide was written, Lyft required riders to agree to follow CDC guidelines when using Lyft. Tap each box to check them and then tap “I accept.”
How to Request a Lyft
Step 1. Open the Lyft app on your home screen. The homepage will have a blue dot indicating your location on the map. Tap “Search destination.”
Step 2. Next, type in the address or the name of the place you want your Lyft driver to take you and tap the location once it appears on the search list. (Your current location will be shown under “Start.”)
Step 3. After you input your destination, a map will appear. On this screen, you can select from various sizes of Lyft cars. The larger the vehicle, the more expensive your fare will be. You can also see what your wait time will be and the estimated arrival time to your destination. Tap the car that you'd like.
Step 4. Once you've tapped on the Lyft you'd like to take for your ride, tap “Select Lyft.”
Step 5. Your Lyft driver will head your way. Lyft will let you know their name, what they look like, their license plate number, and what kind of car they drive so you can spot them. Make sure the license plate number matches the Lyft car you get into.
Step 6. Once your Lyft arrives, you can get in the car and enjoy the ride to your destination. Lyft will automatically charge the payment method you entered for the ride, so you don't have to worry about exchanging cash.
Is it Customary to Tip Lyft Drivers?
Just like you tip a cab driver, you should reward a Lyft driver for great service with a tip. Though tipping isn't required, it's appreciated by the driver. At the end of your ride, the Lyft app will prompt you to rate your ride and give you the option to leave a tip for your driver.
How to Use a Ridesharing Service if You Don’t Have a Smartphone
If you don't have a smartphone, you're still able to use a ridesharing service. GoGoGrandparent makes it possible for seniors to request a Lyft or Uber ride with a simple phone call!
How to Use GoGoGrandparent
Setting Up Your GoGoGrandparent Account
Step 1. To sign up for GoGoGrandparent, start by visiting their homepage at gogograndparent.com and registering online. We will show you how to register in the steps below. (If you would rather register by phone, you can do so by calling 1-855-464-6872.)
Step 2. Click “Sign Up/Login” and then click “Sign Up.”
Step 3. Fill out the required information. When you're finished, click “Proceed to Step 2” at the bottom of the page.
Step 4. Enter a family member's contact information (optional). This person will receive updates via text message when you use GoGoGrandparent, so make sure it is a trusted friend or family member. Then click “Proceed to Step 3.”
Step 5. Finally, enter your billing information. Once you've filled that in, click “Activate GoGo and Permit Us To Call You Rides.”
Call a Ride Through GoGoGrandparent
Step 1. After you've signed up, calling a ride through GoGoGrandparent is very simple. All you have to do is use your landline or cellphone to call 1-855-464-6872. From there, you can follow the prompts over the phone to schedule a ride.
Step 2. Once your ride arrives, you'll need to let them know your destination. GoGoGrandparent will schedule a Lyft or Uber ride for you and will bill you later. You don't have to worry about exchanging money for the Lyft or Uber ride.
How Much Does GoGoGrandparent Cost?
Your first month with GoGoGrandparent is free! This one-month free trial is perfect to see how much you use the service and if you like it, which we think is definitely a plus. After your trial, GoGoGrandparent is $9.99 per month. You'll also pay the fare for your Lyft and Uber rides, which can range between $6 and $50 one-way, depending on how far you're going. If you don't have a smartphone, or you'd just prefer someone else to arrange the ride for you, the extra $9.99 fee might be totally worth it!