Lyft announced an interesting pilot program that allows seniors without a smart phone to utilize Lyft to get to medical appointments. Lyft partnered with National Medtrans Network of New York, providing 2500 rides a week through the program, almost 10% of Medtrans’ weekly livery trips.
Around 3 billion medicaid dollars a year is spent on transportation. Yet it’s not really solving a problem, it’s supporting an outdated and costly process. Call centers are very resource intensive and tend to encourage dependency. Funding for developing consumer directed on-demand transportation solutions is sorely missing.
Lyft also needs to ensure a portion of their drivers are operating accessible vehicles. Using Lyft technology to directly schedule a portion of existing para-transit fleets would be really helpful.
An issue that’s always gets raised—not all people have smartphones. The problem of the digital divide certainly needs to be addressed Now. However, the lack of access to modern communications services shouldn’t be used to justify keeping legacy systems on life support.