Uber drivers have started to notice unusual text messages from a service called GoGrandparent following regular ride requests that say your passenger is an elderly person who may need some extra assistance. Drivers might be caught off guard by GoGoGrandparent requests or think it’s a scam, so I want to describe the service and let you know what to expect from these requests.
GoGoGrandparent is a service available throughout the US that allows people to request an Uber without using a smartphone or a computer. It’s intended for elderly or disabled users, so typically the passenger is an older person who may need some assistance getting in and out of the car, or may have an assistive device like a cane or a walker. For more information about what the service is like for passengers, check out What is GoGoGrandparent?
As a driver, you can choose to accept or reject these requests, and you can opt out from getting the requests again in the future. You aren’t paid extra to do these types of rides, and they may involve some extra work and coordination to successfully complete. Is it worth it to do them?
What a GoGoGrandparent request looks like
A request from GoGoGrandparent looks like any other ride request, but it will be accompanied by a text message from GoGoGrandparent that looks something like this,
“Hi. I’m GoGoGrandparent, a company that’s partnered with lyft to help seniors use the service without a smartphone. You’ll be picking up XXX today, they’re a senior and may need some extra help.”
At that point, you can do the ride as normal. You can contact the customer as normal, but some GoGoGrandparent users list a caretaker’s phone number instead of their own, so you might have to communicate through another person to get to your rider. When you arrive, the user will get a phone call letting them know you are there and that they need to meet you outside. Give these users a few extra minutes before you try to contact them because they may be slow to get out of the house due to mobility issues.
There may be some extra work from GoGoGrandparent requests
Expect longer pickup and dropoff times from GoGoGrandparent users. Coordinating with the passenger isn’t always easy if they aren’t ready by the phone, or if they use another person as their point of contact. Older passengers who aren’t familiar with Uber might get confused at some point during the process, and they might not know that they are expected to come out quickly after you arrive.
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There’s also some extra work involved because the person may need to have the door opened for them, and you you may need to store an assistive device in your car. Figuring out how to collapse and store a walker may take a few moments. They’re also likely to be slow getting in and out of the car. These rides will take extra some extra time and patience.
You don’t get paid extra for GoGoGrandparent requests
GoGoGrandparent customers pay the service an extra rate on top of Uber’s normal fare, but drivers aren’t paid more than normal rates. In many cases that means spending more time on a ride than you normally would. Per minute rates are very low, so all the time you sit around waiting don’t pay very well.
You can opt out of GoGoGrandparent requests
When you get a text from GoGoGrandparent about a ride request, reply “Cancel” to stop all future requests from GoGoGrandparent.
Is it worth it to do these requests?
GoGoGrandparent has done a good job setting up their service to give riders plenty of notifications and lots of ways for riders and drivers to contact each other. It has the potential to be as seamless as any other ride you give, but in the end it is up to the elderly users to come out when you arrive, and to be at the right pickup location. Some will be sitting by the phone ready to get out of the house as soon as you arrive. Others might be confused, requiring calls between you and their caretaker to get everything set up.
I think every driver should try these requests at least once because the elderly customers are usually grateful to get a ride. One of the great things about rideshare is that it gives people access to convenient and affordable transportation, and until now many elderly users were excluded because they couldn’t access smartphones. Giving a ride to someone who really needs it feels worthwhile, even if it means spending a few more minutes waiting.