GreatCall Partners With Lyft to Transport Carless Seniors

Users hail a vehicle via GreatCall's operator services, circumventing the need to download and use the Lyft app.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Aug 31, 2016

With age comes slower reflexes, failing vision and various medical ailments. Because of these changes, many older Americans eventually stop renewing their driver's licenses—on their own volition, at the behest of family members or by the decree of the Department of Motor Vehicles. For those who live alone, losing the autonomy that comes with driving can be a very isolating experience, not to mention inconvenient.

Today, GreatCall, a California-based provider of technology and services for older adults, announced that it has partnered with ride-hailing service Lyft to launch a pilot program in which GreatCall's customers will be able to hail rides from Lyft through the assistance of GreatCall's operator service, used in conjunction with GreatCall's Jitterbug smartphone.

The Jitterbug phone. A flip-phone version is also available.
The Jitterbug is a basic touchscreen smartphone running an operating system that GreatCall developed specifically for older users, who are likely to be unfamiliar with such phones. It is also available in a flip-phone form factor. For both phones, the operating system uses large text and icons and includes a set of games designed specifically to improve memory.

Lyft offers an application programming interface (API) as part of its Concierge offering, and GreatCall has integrated this API into its management platform, through which it provides specific phone-based services for GreatCall customers, such as urgent-care service or reminders to refill medicine prescriptions. Thanks to this integration, GreatCall's customers will not need to download the Lyft app to their phones in order to use the ride-hailing service. Rather, they will only need to call a GreatCall operator and tell him or her where they'd like to go. The operator will then hail a Lyft driver on the caller's behalf—GreatCall is also the mobile service provider, so the operator can view the caller's location through the cellphone link.

Once the ride request is made, the operator will verbally provide all of the information that someone using the Lyft app on his or her phone would see via the app: an estimate of what the ride will cost, as well as where to wait (such as on a specific street corner, if the caller is not at home) and how long he or she will likely need to wait for the car to arrive.

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