Uber Tests New Platform With Canada Senior Living Pilot

Having a champion show dog requires plenty of travel around town to make it to events and ceremonies. Having a champion show dog while residing at a senior living community, on the other hand, means asking children or friends for rides to be able to attend different competitions.

Thanks to a new platform unveiled by Uber Canada and Revera Inc., one of Canada’s largest senior living owners, operators and investors, one resident at The Annex in Toronto, Canada, can now come and go to dog shows and trials as she pleases without pestering loved ones. That’s because the pilot of the platform, UberCENTRAL, seeks to provide transportation for seniors who might not have smartphones to order rides for themselves.

Launched two months ago, the platform allows a business like Revera to request and manage taxi and Uber rides alike on behalf of others. In the case of Revera, the receptionist or recreation manager can arrange transportation for seniors who don’t have or don’t want to use smartphones, in an effort to promote mobility.

“Our seniors deserve as much choice and independence as possible, and this is one more way that we can provide that,” Patricia Barbato, senior vice president of innovation and strategic partnerships for Revera, tells Senior Housing News.

Not only is Revera using UberCENTRAL to facilitate transportation primarily for independent living residents, but also for workers. Additionally, Revera is looking at whether the platform can be used when organizing rides for residents to external events.

“It’s one spot that you can do everything,” Barbato says.

Residents’ rides are charged to their monthly statements. Revera covers work-related trips for employees, working to determine whether the cost will be less than what the company would typically pay for mileage.

The pilot of UberCENTRAL will continue at The Annex for another two months or so, and Revera will bring it to other sites within the next month, Barbato says. Expanding it futher will depend on its success in three areas: enhancing the resident experience, making jobs easier for staff and becoming more efficient.

“We’ll expand the pilot, and if it’s successful, then we could expand to the entire network,” Barbato says. Revera owns or operates more than 500 properties across Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Anecdotally, UberCENTRAL has been a hit so far, Barbato says. The woman with her show dog can easily get herself where she needs to go, and others have noted enjoying conversations with their drivers. For workers, it’s been a convenient way to go to a different site or visit a resident’s family, if needed.

The pilot stemmed from an ongoing relationship with Uber Canada, Barbato says. Revera’s focus on innovation and experience in pilots made the company a good choice to roll out the new platform.

“At Uber, our mission is to provide convenient, reliable transportation for everyone, everywhere,” Uber Toronto General Manager Sheldon McCormick said in a news release. “We know that lack of transportation is a barrier to freedom and improved health for many retirement home residents who need to get to medical appointments or spend time with family members. That’s why we’re so please to be piloting UberCENTRAL with Revera to help increase the independence and mobility of their residents.”

Written by Kourtney Liepelt