Free Lyft Rides for Seniors

The first program in the Bay Area to provide free rides for people 60 and older

A new pilot program launched recently in Walnut Creek, in which seniors can schedule a free ride from a Lyft driver during times when standard senior paratransit services are unavailable.

The city’s new “Expanded Transportation Program” is funded via a $157,000, two-year grant provided by the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) and Transportation Partnership and Cooperation (TRANSPAC).

“Walnut Creek’s is the first program in the Bay Area to provide free rides for people 60 and older to general locations using a ride-hailing company,” said Adriane Lee Bird, manager of the city’s Recreation program, which operates the senior ride service. 

Walnut Creek’s senior transportation program provides more than 3,000 rides a year to seniors within Walnut Creek, typically to doctors’ appointments, grocery store visits and other common errands. The program, however, historically uses minivans and has depended on volunteer dispatchers and drivers. It has been strictly a weekday, daytime operation until now. 

With the new Lyft rides program, “We’re basically extending our service to go 24/7,” said Bird, noting that initial senior reaction has been good. 

“If there is no opening for a regular (minivan) to give me a ride, the call goes over to Lyft,” said Bess Klen, who at 94 no longer drives. “It just lifts my spirits up; it’s like a new life for me,” she said. 

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