Many South African seniors risk social exclusion because of the lack of transportation options.
Here’s a great solution!
Don’t dismiss this out of hand and assume that this article is not for you because it is to do with “apps”.
Bear with us, and read on….
Many South African seniors risk social exclusion because of the lack of transportation options. The families of many seniors live elsewhere – different cities, abroad. Yes, there is a train and bus service, and one can get free rides on Tuesdays, but in reality, how many seniors are actually reluctant to use the train and the bus? And one of the main issues is safety.
Here’s a great solution – let’s look at how it works and how it ensures your safety – all at the same time…
Not talking to strangers, or getting into their cars, has been engrained into our psyche since we were young. Our parents told us not to talk to strangers, we told our children not to talk to strangers, and our grandchildren are constantly warned of the dangers of talking to strangers – on the street as well as online, and getting into their cars is a definite no-no.
Enter the new millennium, and despite the advice we give to our grandchildren, we now call on strangers to help us in our homes, and we get into cars with strangers! But we all agree that in certain circumstances, this is perfectly acceptable and mostly very helpful to us! What a contradiction!
While it could sound ominous, the reality is that app-based taxi services are saving people a lot of time and hassle. Apps like Uber, Taxify, Bolt, and inDriver are simply a click away, and they give us the chance to go places without the need to drive ourselves.
How can an app-based taxi service assist pensioners?
You could argue that we have had regular taxis in our lives for over 100 years, but the pros of using an app-based taxi service far outweigh the cons.
- the ease and cost-effectiveness of these apps means there is no waiting around.
- If you don’t have cash, you can pay electronically. Or you can pay cash. Uber has very recently announced that one can choose the cash option, take a ride and pay your driver directly in cash at the end of the trip.
- You can split fares with your friend.
- It is a reliable way to travel.
- You don’t have to hunt for parking or pay for parking fees.
- It alleviates having to ask family and friends for lifts – you can be as independent as you like.
- There is no need to use your own car if you are not comfortable driving to a new or particular destination.
- If you have a scheduled appointment at the hospital, a simple click or two will have a car waiting outside in a matter of minutes.
- If you need a quick trip to the shops, but are unable to drive, again the problem is solved with a simple click or two.
- Uber has a wonderful option that caters for senior citizens and people with physical impairments – uberASSIST comes with driver-partners who are able to assist their passengers with individual needs and to travel more effectively and frequently. uberASSIST riders are also welcome to bring along service animals.
Another feature pertaining to Uber that will be of particular interest to pensioners is the launch of Uber Lite, a completely redesigned app that is light, simple, and works on any Android device and on any network, and most importantly is for people with limited data plans.
Let’s talk safety
We are not saying that you should simply take a trip with one of these apps without any regard to safety. The reality is that we live in a world where it has become difficult to trust everyone, and it is extremely important that you take the responsibility to ensure your safety at all times. Don’t be put off by stories you may have heard – rather take heed of the following guide to ensure your safety, and you too can enjoy the freedom of being mobile again.
- All of the information about the driver and his/her car are available on the app. Ask the driver his/her name before getting into the car. Their name appears on the app once a car is booked.
- You can get the driver to confirm your name before you get into the car.
- Always check the car’s licence plate against the number on the app.
- Always put your seatbelt on when sitting in the car’s back seats – and in front, of course. Our advice is to sit in the back of the car.
- Send your trip information to a friend or family member, so they can keep track of where you are. This can be done in the app when you book a trip.
- Send an SMS or WhatsApp message to a friend or family member before booking a trip, telling them where you are going.
- Have all emergency numbers saved on your phone.
- Always report drivers on the app if they are speeding, driving dangerously, or if they disobey the rules of the road. This is not a common thing, but, sadly, it can happen.
Have you used any of these taxi services before?
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e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story.