For many seniors, physical limitations related to mobility or eyesight can make driving impossible, impractical, or dangerous. The availability of public transportation may be limited in small communities or rural locations. Many seniors rely on taxi services for transportation, but the availability of taxi companies may be limited due to the increasing popularity of ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft.
These services offer several advantages for travelers, but they require a smartphone to use. Many seniors do not have a smartphone, do not wish to use a smartphone, or are not able or willing to learn how to use one. The purpose of GoGoGrandparent is to bridge the gap between seniors and ride-sharing companies, making the services accessible to everyone, even to those without a smartphone.
For those who want to use GoGoGrandparent, the process starts with registration for the service. Registration can be completed over the phone or through the company's website. You are asked for information including name, language preferences, home address, phone number, credit card details for billing purposes, and birthdate. Note that you do not have to be a senior citizen to use GoGoGrandparent. The only age restriction is that the company cannot book rides for anyone under the age of 18.
In addition to the above information, GoGoGrandparent asks you about any special considerations you may have. For example, you can inform the company if you have any physical issues that require the use of a mobility aid like a wheelchair or a walker, vision problems, a seeing eye dog, etc. When you book a ride, GoGoGrandparent uses this information to find a driver who can accommodate your needs and inform the driver that you may need assistance.
Once you're registered with GoGoGrandparent, you can call the toll-free number to schedule a ride at any time during the day or night. All you need to schedule a ride through the service is a touchtone phone, which can be either a landline or a cell phone.
When you call, you hear a recorded message that says, “Thanks for calling GoGoGrandparent.” Once you hear the recording, you can use your phone's keypad to enter the option of your choice. Available options include the following:
- Press 0 to speak with an operator regarding advance scheduling or any other customer service issues.
- Press 6 to contact an operator to request a ride immediately.
- Press 2 to summon an immediate ride to your last drop-off location.
- Press 1 to request an immediate pickup from your home.
- Press 3, 4, or 5 to request a pickup at a custom location.
For example, assume that you have an appointment with your doctor. You could call GoGoGrandparent and press 1 to request a pickup at your home to travel to the clinic. Once your appointment is complete, you could then call again and press 2 to arrange a ride back to your home.
On the other hand, suppose you have other errands to run after your doctor's appointment. You could use the options 3, 4, and 5 to arrange rides to and from these other locations before returning back home. If you're unclear about how to use custom options to arrange your ride, you can press 6 to arrange your trip with the help of an operator.
When you schedule a ride with GoGoGrandparent, the company then contacts the ride-sharing company through the system and arranges the ride for you. It navigates the smartphone app so you don't have to. GoGoGrandparent arranges rides through Uber and Lyft services. If both are available in your area, you can choose which one you want.
During the initial registration process, you can provide contact information for children or other loved ones to get updates about your trip. Whomever you indicate receives details of your trip via text message regarding successful pickup and arrival to your destination. In addition, GoGoGrandparent also monitors your trip via global positioning system and contacts the driver if there are any delays or deviations from the intended route.
You do not need to ride alone when you use GoGoGrandparent. Up to four people can ride together for no additional fee.
If you need to cancel a ride, you can call GoGoGrandparent and dial 9. You can do this any time before pickup, but it is best to do so within the first five minutes of scheduling if possible, to avoid a cancellation fee. Drivers can also cancel rides at or before pickup; GoGoGrandparent will inform you if this happens and help you arrange another ride.
GoGoGrandparent charges a concierge fee for use of the service. It is 27 cents per minute of the ride's duration and goes to cover costs associated with the service, such as maintaining computer servers and operating the 24-hour call center. It is important to note that you will be charged a fare for using the ride-sharing service in addition to GoGoGrandparent's concierge fee.
The following table illustrates the costs involved with using GoGoGrandparent to arrange a ride:
|GoGoGrandparent concierge fee||27 cents per minute of ride time|
|Ride fare charged by Uber or Lyft||Varies depending on distance, time of day, location, etc.|
|Tip||No less than $2 is expected, but not required, at the conclusion of a ride|
With the possible exception of the tip, all fees will be charged to the credit card that you indicated when you first registered for the service. Tips are not required, but most of the driver's profits come from gratuities. Fifteen percent of the total cost of the ride is customary for excellent service.
There is some ambiguity about liability for damages in the event of an accident. GoGoGrandparent says that the ride-sharing company assumes liability, and the ride-sharing companies themselves have not commented one way or the other.
Based on customer reviews, people who use the service for transportation seem overall satisfied with it. However, the drivers for the services have complained that it requires them to do extra work to help an elderly or infirm customer with no extra pay. A generous tip may help to allay these concerns. Drivers also have concerns about not being able to reach passengers directly prior to pickup.