Avenidas partners with Lyft to give rides to seniors


Palo Alto's senior services agency Avenidas and ride-sharing company Lyft are partnering to provide rides to seniors on the Peninsula, the nonprofit agency announced last week.

San Francisco-based Lyft, which facilitates rides through a smartphone application, will provide older adults with discounted rides, with Avenidas acting as the dispatcher through the agency's Door to Door Transportation program. The program provides 5,300 rides a year, according to Avenidas. Users will not need a smartphone to request a ride.

"Many of the older adults whom we serve either don't feel comfortable using apps on their phones, or don't even own a smartphone at all, and now, thanks to this unique partnership with Lyft, Avenidas will handle the ride scheduling for them," Avenidas President and CEO Amy Andonian said in a statement. "An additional benefit of partnering with Lyft is that we are no longer fully dependent on having enough volunteer drivers, and so we can now fulfill all ride requests."

The Door to Door program takes requests from individuals, referrals from social workers, calls from other senior centers and hospitals, as well as calls from adult children on behalf of their parents. The rides, according to Avenidas, are "critical to people who no longer drive, as they help prevent isolation by getting people to the places they want to go, and keeps them healthy by getting them to important medical appointments."

Rides can be booked by calling 650-289-5411. Fees vary: $9 for short rides (0-3.9 miles); $13 for medium rides (4.0-7.9 miles); and $18 for long rides (8.0-12 miles). There is a fee of $7.50 for rides cancelled without 24-hour notice.

More information is posted at

Related content:

Avenidas unveils revised expansion plan

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4 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 5, 2016 at 11:09 am

This is fantastic! Congrats to Avenidas! have been trying to get my 90 year old mother to use Uber or Lyft in AZ to no avail!

Like this comment
Posted by CRC
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 5, 2016 at 11:42 am

[Post removed.]

5 people like this
Posted by gwen edwards
a resident of another community
on Jul 5, 2016 at 12:09 pm

I am in San Francisco, but just want to commmend you on this great idea. i would also urge you to offer "Lyft share" for seniors who would be encourage to bring a friend and share the cost. Also, what about offering to families sign up, and offer a 10% discount on all rides taken by daughters/sons of the senior, if their senior uses the service at least once a month? It would build market presence, and incent families. Anyway, I comment Avenidas and Lyft for being so creative. Kudos to you both.

6 people like this
Posted by Dana
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 5, 2016 at 12:15 pm

Will Lyft drivers help seniors get down stairs and into vehicles? Are the cars easy for seniors to get into ? Will drivers help seniors get to doctors offices upon arrival to a medical facility?

2 people like this
Posted by Creative
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 5, 2016 at 2:02 pm

Nice idea, let's see how it works.
Very creative timing. It provides an argument for their desired reduced parking in their development plans. Developers are very creative when they look for loopholes in the rules.

7 people like this
Posted by mutti
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 5, 2016 at 3:41 pm

My mother lives in Utah. Last summer my sisters and I told Mom she couldn't drive anymore. She had been 87 going on 50, but then had some health problems that leave her legs weak and her reactions slow. I got her a small smart phone on my plan, signed her up for Lyft, and all the rides get charged to my credit card. I told her whenever she needs a ride to "Call me." She knows how to touch the pink balloon, and then the button that calls for the ride.
Mom uses Lyft 2 or 3 times a week, and loves it. She can get to the senior center exercise class when her usual ride is away. She can get to her weekly hair appointment. She even had a Lyft driver that helped her deliver Christmas presents to 9 different addresses in her neighborhood. He walked to the door with each gift and rang the bell. He could tell that would be faster than watching Mom totter with her cane. The drivers have always been kind and helpful. It costs me $15-20 per week for her rides -- much less expensive than owning a car!
I get an email whenever she uses Lyft, and I like to know that she's getting out and about. I can ask her about her various excursions.
Mom will be 90 in September, and is still very sound of mind, though feeble of body. Lyft has been a huge help to her. When we told Mom she couldn't drive any more, she said, "Wait until your kids do this to you!" I told her that won't happen because I'll get a self-driving car by then. I told her we'd get her a self-driving car for her 95th birthday. They are supposed to be out about then, but I think she's happy with Lyft.

2 people like this
Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 5, 2016 at 3:48 pm

Kudos to Amy Andonian and the Avenidas team on this new important partnership! Transportation is so important for our seniors. Let's figure out a way to make this service accessible for lower income seniors too.

Like this comment
Posted by Fatherof3
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 5, 2016 at 6:11 pm

Sounds like a good idea. Wondering how the pricing compares to Door-to-Door service currently offered by Avenidas.

Like this comment
Posted by Creative
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 6, 2016 at 12:43 am

No one is saying there is anything wrong with Lyft - although they are putting countless cab drivers out of work. The point I was making was that Avenidas is expanding in a neighborhood where parking is a big problem.

Last I read they want to reduce the parking they build, less than the zoning requirement, and that is not a good thing. Like the big building on the corner of Lytton and Alma also got a dispensation and is underparked. This is a bad trend and Avenidas should not contribute to it.
It will be interesting to see if they use this new program to justify underparking.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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