MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Got a parent, or grandparent, who really could use a service like Uber to get around, but they’re completely baffled by the new-fangled smartphones, so don’t own one.
Well, a new service helps seniors take advantage of the popular app ride services, like Uber and Lyft, from a simple touchtone phone.
When Justin Boogard got out of college, he spent three years living with is grandmother “Betty” to save money. He said at the time it was a real learning experience for the both of them.
“I taught her how to use the TV, she taught me how to put the toilet seat down,” he said with a laugh.
Boogard also taught Betty about services like Uber, but there was a problem. The ride-sharing service works through an app and Betty is among the 70-percent of Americans over the age of 65 who don’t own a smartphone.
So with grandma in mind, Boogard developed “GoGoGrandparent,” a service that connects seniors to app services using a traditional touchtone phone.
A recording on the line guides the caller to the service they need and employees at a call center set up the Uber ride.
Joan Carney has a smartphone but only uses it for calls, she doesn’t know how to use the apps. She says she uses “GoGoGrandparent” all the time to go shopping.
Customers are charged an extra 19-cents a minute during the ride for the service. They pay the total cost of the ride through a credit card on file. Most people do not tip, except in the cases where they ask a driver to wait or lift something up.
“I’d really be house-bound I think without it I couldn’t just depend on friends and family all the time to get me here and there,” said Betty Lou Luce.
“GoGoGrandparent” has callers from 47 states, Puerto Rico and three provinces in Canada. All the call center employees, dubbed professional grandchildren were raised by or have lived with a grandparent. They eventually hope to add other app services, like grocery delivery.