November 17, 2017
Uber and Lyft are making it easier and cheaper for New Jerseyans to get from one community to the next, and in some cases, they’re obviating the need for personal cars altogether. But the popular technology has, so far, been out of reach for those without smartphones.
Tri-Town 55+, a nonprofit working to improve the quality of life of senior citizens in Madison, Chatham Township, and Chatham Borough, has set out to change that.
Through a donor advised fund at the Community Foundation, TriTown has been able to mobilize local and corporate support to launch the Rides for Seniors program which uses a new technology that brings Uber and Lyft to those without smartphones.
The technology, called GoGoGrandparent, enables seniors to call an 800 number where they can schedule an Uber or Lyft ride. To participate in the program, users and/or caregivers must register by calling 1-855-464-6872 or visiting www.tritown55plus.org. A list of frequently asked questions about the program is also on the website.
Now seniors in Madison and the Chathams are able to get where they need to go – on their own schedule and through the convenience of short phone call.
John Courthamel, President of the Tri-Town 55+ Coalition, says the goal of this pilot program is to serve seniors who no longer drive, either by choice or by necessity. “Whether they use the service for appointments, errands or pleasure, we hope to enable them to feel less isolated and more independent.”
Tri-Town 55+ pays $5 per trip, up to four trips per rider per month. The rides enable seniors to reach three major local hospitals, many restaurants, retailers and entertainment venues such as The Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown and the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn.
“In these towns, where much of our focus and emphasis is on our children and youth, it is a pleasure to be part of this initiative which will certainly enhance the quality of life for our senior population,” says Victoria Fife, Chatham Borough Council President.
The transportation initiative will not only serve the residents, but help the local organizations and businesses, as well.
“The Rides for Seniors program will complement the bus transportation services offered by the senior centers with the convenience of having affordable transportation on-call,” says Pam Mansfield, Director of the Senior Services Center of the Chathams, a coalition partner.
For other members of the Tri-Town Coalition, such as the Madison Area YMCA, it is their hope that the “Rides for Seniors” program will enable members to be more involved.
“We offer so many educational programs, social events and fitness classes throughout the day and on weekends and we hope that we will get more of our senior residents to attend because they now have a fast, affordable and easy way to get here,” says Joseph Gonsalves, Sr. Director of Healthy Living, from the Madison Area YMCA.
To view NJTV’s coverage of this new initiative, click below.