Over 20% of Americans over 65 don’t drive, according to a recent AARP survey. Many live in areas where public transportation is poor or not available, leaving few mobility choices for those non-drivers. Seniors typically outlive their driving days by 7-10 years, yet still need to visit their doctor, a dentist or enjoy a show or other special outing. That’s why a senior ride service is needed in almost every community, large or small.
For many non-driving seniors, mobility is essential for independence and staying in their own home as long as possible. While public transportation can help when available, it does not often have the flexibility to allow seniors to visit friends or attend special events, like a show or a gallery visit, or even help them get from a bus to the doctor’s office if they have balance or mobility problems!
One solution to the challenges faced by non-driving seniors is a paid ride service that helps seniors get where they want to go, stay as long as they want, and get home on their own schedule. California-based SilverRide has offered this service since 2007, winning praise and awards from a wide variety of senior service organizations. SilverRide drivers take seniors on shopping trips, visits with friends, or to attend social occasions. Drivers often become friends with their clients, enjoying lunch together or share a visit to an art gallery or museum.
One of my most interesting clients was a retired mining engineer in his late 70s who was unable to drive, but loved to ride around the back country to visit old mines and study the roadside geology, looking for clues to minerals in the exposed rocks. Some days, we left at 7 a.m. and didn’t return until after dark.
Offering a senior ride service can help provide safe, reliable transportation for seniors and visually impaired folks, as well as provide a substantial full-time or part-time income. Most drivers report earning between $30 and $60 an hour, with the lower rates in smaller or rural communities and higher rates in larger cities, where everything is more expensive.
You can help those who no longer drive get to medical appointments, shopping and anywhere else they need or want to go in order to stay connected to their community. The rewards go far beyond money, as your clients genuinely appreciate and value your service, because you’ve helped them regain their independence.
Most providers charge a combination of an hourly rate for the driver/companion and a mileage rate, which is often based on the IRS business mileage rate, currently 55 cents per mile. Be sure to check with your insurance agent to find out what additional coverage is required for providing this service.
To learn more, check out the step-by-step startup guide, How to Start a Profitable Senior Transportation Service.