Tech Tools to Get Around Town

It's easy to think of places we'd like to go, but it's not always easy figuring out how to get there. In this month's Tech it Out, we'll cover rideshare apps and services such as Uber, Lyft, Go Go Grandparent, and Curb for taxis. We'll explore safely requesting transportation even without a smartphone. If you're curious about these services, or have experiences you can share, tune in to ask questions and share your experiences.

April 30, 2019

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Audio Transcript


Tech It Out: Tech Tools to Get Around Town

Presented by Ricky Enger

April 30, 2019

Ricky Enger: Welcome, everyone, to Tech it Out for April. We're actually at the very end of April, but what better way to wind down the month than to spend a little time talking about fun technology stuff?

My name is Ricky Enger, and I am a learning expert in assistive technology at Hadley. If you've never been to a Tech it Out before, this is a time when we get together, We select a topic for the month, and I spend a little time giving some generalized info about that topic. Then we just break out, and ask questions, and learn from each other as a community. So super fun, super cool. If this is your first time to one of these, welcome. If you've come back for more, also welcome and [crosstalk 00:00:57].

Just a couple of quick things before we actually get started with the presentation, some housekeeping stuff for those of you who are new, or maybe it's been a month and you've slept since then, so it's not exactly familiar with how to do some things like muting and that kind of thing. [inaudible 00:01:25].

When I begin, I will [crosstalk 00:01:34] spend a little while talking about the topic at hand, and everyone stays muted aside from those who come in a little bit later. They come in unmuted, and my wonderful cohost is in the background taking care of all that stuff. Again, give some introductory information while everyone is muted, then we open it up for questions.

If you do have a question, just to cut down on the chaos, and it's kind of like lining up just like we did in school, raise your hand to let me know that you have a question. Now you can raise your physical hand, but that may not do so much good. You'll want to raise your virtual hand with star 9, if you're on the phone. That's star 9. If you're on the PC, alt-Y if you'd like to raise your hand. And if you're on the Mac, command-shift-Y. Also, you'll be able to find that if you have come in on your phone app. Once you have raised your hand and you've been called on, or maybe you have something to make a comment on on something that someone else has said, that's cool, too. To unmute yourself, star 6, and to mute yourself again, star 6. So it's a toggle on the phone. You'll use alt-A, that's A for audio, on the PC to mute and unmute yourself. Command-shift-A on the Mac.

There, all the logistical fun stuff out of the way, and now we can get to the real fun stuff, which is the topic for this month, transportation. We all have places that we want to go. We'd like to get out there and do our thing, just like everyone else, but it's not always easy to figure out what the best way is to do that accessibly. For some of us, technology is a little bit of a challenge, and for some of us, we really love it and want to have access to every new app that comes out. Thankfully, there are transportation options for this entire group of people. So we want to talk about what those options are tonight.

There are options that many of you are probably familiar with, whether you tend to use them or not, such as the special transportation services that a lot of cities offer. And of course, the way that this works is these services have been created specifically for people with disabilities, whether it be blindness, whether it be mobility impairments, some combination of the two. Whatever your disability happens to be, each of these cities has its own vetting process for whether or not you qualify for the service.

But if you do, the advantage to these services is that they tend to be fairly inexpensive. So you purchase ride tickets, and those ride tickets are used to get you where you need to go, regardless of what the [inaudible 00:05:06] is of that ride. So that sounds pretty cool, you know, "Hey, I'll pay two dollars to get door to door service." In some cities, it's way more expensive than that, but you know, it's usually less than five dollars per ride.

There is, unfortunately, a downside to these services, though, and that is you lose some of your spontaneity, right? If you wake up on Saturday morning and decide that you'd like to go walk around the mall, you'd better have decided that on Friday morning, at least 24 hours ahead of time, because in most cases, you need to have made a reservation with the special transportation service in order to get you where you'd like to go. The reason for that is they have a lot of people who want to do the same thing, and they're trying to essentially organize the rides based on where you're going, how many people need to be there, who the next person is on the route to pick up. So they try and organize this stuff ahead of time.

It is, however, an option, if you're looking for something that's very inexpensive that's going to get you door to door, and that, theoretically anyway, the drivers have some knowledge and experience with people with disabilities. Now, that doesn't always happen. You might think, "Well, surely a person who drives someone with a disability every day isn't going to make some of these common mistakes, by perhaps speaking very loudly to you even if there isn't a need for that, pointing to the place where you need to go even though you're clearly not able to see that. It can happen. I suppose that can happen with any service.

Public transportation is another option for people. It, too, has some advantages in that it is relatively inexpensive. If you're in a larger city, it's going to go various places in that city. You have pick up points and drop off points. You can get to different parts of the city with public transportation. The disadvantage for some is that they want this door to door service. Public transport, such as a bus, or the subway, the train, those things don't do door to door service. The idea behind them is that they get you from street corner to street corner kind of thing, and then you would use tools like GPS and a general knowledge of your city to get where you want to go. But a lot of people thoroughly enjoy public transportation as long as they keep in mind that this isn't door to door. If you need that service, then you're probably going to want to look at something else.

Taxis, and once we get through these that are familiar to everyone, we'll start talking about ride share services. But all of these things that have been around for a while, such as taxis and special transportation and transit services do absolutely have their place, and should be talked about. So taxis, that was the big thing for door to door access for a very, very long time. if you wanted to get somewhere specific, you would call a cab, and it would take you there. There were certainly disadvantages to taxis in that you could call a cab, but you might not necessarily know when it was going to arrive. It could be 3 minutes, it could be 30 minutes. You, as the rider, simply needed to wait outside and hope for the best. But taxi served us well for a very long time, and they are still available.

So the option to take a taxi is certainly still available, either in the traditional sense where you call your cab company and say, "I am at this address and I'd like to go to this address," or you can take a slightly more technical approach to this if you have a smartphone, there are a number of taxi apps, and some cities have multiple options for this. An option that's pretty nationally recognized is called Curb, C-U-R-B. This is an app that will take some of the guesswork out of calling a taxi, because the way that it works is similar to ride share services like Uber and Lyft, which we'll talk about in just a bit. The idea is that you tell it where you are, you tell it where you want to go, and you select, "Get me a taxi."

It will, unlike in the olden days where you had to wait outside and hope for the best, it will give you some tracking information and give you its estimated time of arrival. The other big advantage of using Curb to access your taxis rather than the traditional method of calling the cab to do that is that you can pay directly in the app. So if you're uncomfortable with trusting the person to read the meter properly for you, if you're uncomfortable with carrying a lot of cash, if you're unsure whether the credit card reader in the back of the taxi is going to work, then having the ability to use this and pay for it right inside the app is really, really nice. So again, the name of that is Curb.

Taxis, though, are ... I won't say they're being phased out, because especially in cities like New York and Chicago, there are still cabs on every corner. It's easy to flag one down. They're everywhere. They may be feeling the pain of Uber and Lyft taking business from them, but they certainly still do exist. However, ride share services, such as Uber and Lyft, and those are the examples that we'll talk about tonight, are becoming far more popular. Why is that? Let's talk about each of these services, what they do, how they work, and just some general thoughts on how you use them and what the differences might be.

Lyft, which is actually spelled with a Y, L-Y-F-T, is a bit smaller than Uber, but both of these companies work through a smartphone app, so your iPhone or your Android device can be used to hail a ride sharing car. The person who's driving this car is just an everyday guy or girl who has decided to use their car to make a little extra money.

There have been background checks on those who drive for Uber and Lyft, and of course those background checks include their driving record, so you're not going to get someone who has gotten a ton of speeding tickets and DUIs and whatever. So that can help to ease your mind a little in that they don't just allow anyone to become an Uber or Lyft driver without doing a little bit of background checking.

They are also required to drive cars which are a certain number of years old. So I believe that they can't drive a car that's beyond [inaudible 00:14:22] years old. [inaudible 00:14:26] at the airport to pick people up if their car is more than five years old. So it's fascinating as to what rules some cities put in place for ride sharing services.

Now what happens when you're ready to take a ride? How does this process work? The first thing that you do, much like you would if you wanted a taxi, is you have to tell the app where you want to go. In fact, the button to do that is actually labeled, "Where to?" So the app asks you, "Where to?" You put in either a specific address if you know it, or perhaps you want to go to Walgreens and you don't have the exact address, you just want to go to Walgreens, you can type Walgreens into this search field and it will give you your options. Once you select where you're going, you then have to confirm your pickup spot. "This is where I currently am." Generally, the app is pretty good about knowing exactly where you are, but there are some cases where, perhaps, you are in a shopping center whose address is 10416, something or other, but there are like 12 stores there, right? In that case, it may be best for you to put in the name of the store that you're standing in front of so that the driver can see that rather than just the single address.

The cool thing about both Uber and Lyft is that you will get an estimated price, "this is what you're going to be charged." This will be what you're charged unless you had another stop or do something like that, unless you change your destination. So unlike a taxi cab, where the meter is running as soon as you get in the car, that isn't entirely the case with Uber and Lyft, except in certain circumstances. Namely, let's say you do have multiple stops and you need to run into the bank for six minutes and then come out and go somewhere else. While the driver is waiting, those six minutes, you do get charged a nominal fee for that. It makes sense, because you are spending the driver's time, so it makes sense that they get paid for it. Those are the instances where your fare might change, if the driver is waiting, if you change your destination, if you add a stop, and what have you.

So you've got where you're going and where you are. The last thing that you can do is select the kind of ride that you want. You can take the most common, which is either just Lyft or UberX. So whenever it says, "UberX," this is the standard four passenger vehicle. Lyft is the same, the standard four passenger vehicle. What happens, though, if you have six people that are coming with you? You're not charged by the number of people who are in the car, but if you do need a bigger car and you're not sitting one person on somebody else's lap and so on, which is not a good idea and not safe, then you're going to want to pay for a bigger car, in which case that's a Lyft XL or Uber XL.

Then there's the ability to ride in style, like if you want to get in a town car, a luxury car and go do your grocery shopping in style and go, "Hey, look at me." But seriously, if you had, perhaps, an event that you're going to and you want to arrive in a car that looks really, really nice, as if you had paid for a car service, then that option exists as well. That's generally called LUX, as in luxury. So you can pay for that as well. It shouldn't be any surprise that that's going to be a bit more expensive than, say, the standard Uber or Lyft.

When you make your call, then now you have an ETA. You're actually able to observe in the app, either on a map if you do have some vision or someone is with you who does, they can see this moving on the map and getting ever closer to you, but the ETA also updates as the car gets closer to you, so it will say, "Five minutes, and four minutes, and three minutes." Then you'll get a nice little sound indicating when the car has actually arrived.

So this is kind of how these things work if you have a smartphone, but that's not the case for everyone. As I said, not everyone is super in love with technology. Not everyone cares so much about having the latest smartphone. But you still, of course, do still care about getting to where you need to go, so what do you do if you don't want public transport or if you don't want special transportation where you have to make your reservations ahead of time, you don't want a taxi cab for whatever reason.

There are a couple of companies who are very understanding of this need. The companies are called Arrive, so just like the word, A-R-R-I-V-E, and GoGoGrandparent, which is like the best name ever. I just think it's great. So these services have been designed, at least from marketing perspective, they've been designed for seniors, but that's not really the case. They're not checking IDs and going, "Well, you're not a senior, you can't ride this." They're really designed for people who don't drive and need to be able to get to places. So someone who doesn't drive and is not great with technology, that's what these services are for.

So how do they work? Essentially, you're able to sign up with Arrive or GoGoGrandparent, and these services are fairly similar to each other. Arrive has a monthly membership fee, and then you pay for your ride on top of that. GoGoGrandparent, you're just paying extra per minute for your ride whenever you receive it. What these companies do is they utilize Uber and Lyft, just like you would if you had a smartphone, but they're taking care of the organization of the ride and letting the driver know where you want to go and where you currently are. So you're able to call your service, Arrive or GoGoGrandparent, just on a standard phone and tell them, "Hey, I'd like to go to Walgreens. I'm currently at my house." And your house address is a part of your profile. The person on the other end of the service says, "Okay. I'll get you a ride. We'll let you know when it's here. We'll call your mobile phone, that may or may not be a smartphone, or we'll call the number that you've given us, and let you know when your ride is here."

They actually will send a message to the driver letting that driver know that they're going to be transporting someone who is either a senior or they can mention your disability if you choose to disclose that. They can give a great deal of information depending on how much you want to disclose to the company to the driver and make sure that the driver is comfortable with picking you up. Sometimes drivers aren't, sometimes drivers don't want to provide that little extra assistance, which might include getting out and walking you to the door, and some drivers are perfectly fine with it.

It's interesting. I actually rode with a Lyft driver recently who had gotten her first GoGoGrandparent call. She didn't know how it worked for the rider. The rider just called GoGoGrandparent and said, "This is where I'm going." What she got was a text message from Lyft giving her all of this detail that was relevant to this particular rider, and she thought it was a really great experience. So it's wonderful that these services are available, whether or not you are okay with technology.

Now there's one more thing that we have to talk about, and I wish we didn't, before we open this up, but it's a super important thing that is, again, necessary for discussion. That is how do we stay safe when we're using these services. A comedian once said, "We taught our kids not to talk to strangers, and now we're getting in their cars voluntarily," which is kind of funny, but it's also true.

So how do we make sure that we are doing what is safe for us, especially when some of the information that you get from Uber, and Lyft, and the like is inherently visual? So whenever you have been accepted by a driver, you receive information like the color of the car, the make of the car, the license plate. For a lot of us, that does absolutely nothing. Thankfully, what you also get is the driver's name. That's really good, because rather than going up to the car and saying, "Are you here for Ricky?" you can say, "What's your name and what company are you with?" And in that case, it's up to them to verify who they are and whether that matches with what is on your app.

You can also, if it makes you feel comfortable, share your trip with someone else, by which I mean you can make your trip trackable. So within each of these apps, there's the ability to send a link via text message to someone in your contacts. That person can open this link and track where you're going in real time, so it can feel nice knowing that there's someone who is watching you and can check up on you and can essentially verify that this person isn't driving you to the middle of nowhere even though you've specified that you're heading to Walgreens. So again, having that safety net of someone watching while you're in this car can be really helpful.

Some people, especially when they're just getting started using these services, will stay on the phone, because that, too, feels comfortable. They may have someone on the other end that they just talk to until they reach their destination, simply because it feels a little less vulnerable. You feel like you have a lifeline. There's someone that you know that you're speaking with, and it's a signal to the driver of, "I have a phone and I know how to use it. So if anything goes wrong, there's someone right on the other end that I can tell this to."

Now hopefully this isn't going to be something that you always have to do in terms of being on your phone and talking to someone. I've found that, over time, people tend to get a little more relaxed when they're riding in these cars, but it's essential that no matter how relaxed you get, you always keep some of these safety things in mind, such as asking for the name of your driver.

A couple of other quick options are to use a visual interpreter service, like Aira or you can use Be My Eyes and ask a volunteer on that free service to verify, "Is this a blue Toyota Corolla with license plate blah blah blah that I'm about to get into?" So just having that visual confirmation that everyone else would have to ensure that you're getting in the right car can really help to relax you a little, and can also ensure your safety.

We unfortunately, in my home state, or just south of my home state, had an instance where a college student did get into the wrong car. She wasn't visually impaired, but a lot of black cars look alike. She got into a car that wasn't her ride share, and in fact wasn't affiliated with either company. That did not end well for her, sadly. So do keep in mind that as wonderful as these services are, and they truly are, I wouldn’t...

I mean, they're a life changer for me. I take at least six Uber or Lyft rides a week. I find each of the services fairly similar, aside from perhaps some philosophical differences in the companies themselves. It seems that Lyft is a, quote, "nicer company," in that they treat their employees a bit better, they pay them a bit better, and overall, tend to be more customer and employee oriented than Uber, who is definitely more of a, "Let's make as much money as we can, and if we can be nice while we're doing it, yeah, we'll try to do that." If you want to research the philosophies of each company as you're choosing which one you want to be with, that's totally fine.

In some cases, you may not have access to both, it may only be Uber or it may only be Lyft. So you may not have a choice.

But looking at all of these options, whether it's Uber, Lyft, taxis, using Curb, perhaps you like the idea of GoGoGrandparent, because technology's just a little weird and you're concerned about that portion of things, all of these can really help to increase that feeling of independence and get you where you want to go, and in the way that you want to get there. So I feel, at least, that these ride share services are life changing, in a way, in they give us some freedom. So it's great to be aware that they exist.

Now with all of that said, this stuff will be in the show notes, which you can check out at whenever we release this episode. So these things will be there along with any of the resources that are mentioned by people who have some comments or questions. It is actually time to do that now. So if you do have questions, go ahead and raise your hand. Again, that is star 9 on the phone, alt-Y on the PC, and command-shift-Y on the computer. So once you are called on, you can go ahead and unmute yourself. Just a quick reminder, star 6 on the phone, alt-A on the computer, and command-shift-A on the Mac. So let's see, what do we have for people who have raised their hands? We're going to start with someone on the phone with area code 512. You're up.

Area Code 512: Yes, hi. I just want to add in terms of the safety issue, that's very important to ask the driver the company you work for and the driver's name. Also, if you're going to be really late, like especially like a sketchy kind of place, if you can ask someone to go anywhere you need to go with you, like travel as a group ... The person actually who got murdered was just traveling by herself, and she got in the wrong car, and she got kidnapped, and she got unfortunately murdered. Especially if you're a woman, I mean men too, but on more than one occasion, if you're a woman, if you can ask someone to accompany you to wherever you need to go, it's also another good safety tip that you should keep in mind.

One other thing is the taxi cab thing, you have to calculate tips on the spot whenever taxi driver asks you how much it is. Uber and Lyft, you don't have to calculate the tip, you can add tip after your ride is finished, so that is another advantage, I feel.

Ricky Enger: Yes, that is a great point. It's one I meant to mention and didn't, so I appreciate that. So both of the things that you said are very good points. If it's late at night, if you think you might not entirely have your wits about you, if you're bar hopping and whatever, all that is fine. If you want to do that in a group to make sure that you are less vulnerable than you would be alone, it's a great thing to keep in mind.

And tipping, it's nice to not have to do that with cash. A lot of times, a taxi cab is hoping for cash. I think some of them do allow you to tip on the credit card reader, but it's kind of a pain, because you have to write in the amount or whatever, and hope that they do it correctly for you. In Lyft and Uber, that is done through the app directly. Now for the ones like GoGoGrandparent and the like, I think that's handled a little differently, and you may still need to carry cash if you'd like to provide a tip directly to the driver. Thank you again for your comments.

So Martin, Martin Nelson, it's your turn. Martin, you got a question? [crosstalk 00:36:47] ... There you go.

Martin Nelson: Can you hear me now?

Ricky Enger: Yes.

Martin Nelson: Good. Okay, a couple questions regarding Uber. Number one, there appears to be something called Uber Pool, where you can share a ride with a couple other people, [crosstalk 00:37:07] but one of the things that I notice is there's something about if you choose not to be taken directly your door, they'll leave you on an intersection. Are you familiar with that part of it?

Ricky Enger: Yes. So you've pretty much described it exactly. Uber Pool allows multiple people to be picked up and dropped off. The way that it tends to work is that let's say that you were at a [crosstalk 00:37:37] and the corner was a little ways down. Rather than you standing in the parking lot [crosstalk 00:37:47], Uber gives you a designated spot to meet the driver. So you do have to be willing to walk to that spot, and perhaps walk from your drop off spot to the actual destination that you want to go. You're not going to be walking a couple of miles, but it [crosstalk 00:38:12] where if you're in an unfamiliar area and you're concerned about that, it's something that you should think about before selecting Uber Pool. Now the advantage is that because multiple people are riding in, basically, this ride, it's kind of counted as a single ride, you're all sharing the fare, so it's going to be cheaper. You give up the convenience of door to door, but you pay less. So that's how that works.

Ricky Enger: All right, it's time for another person on the phone. We're going to go to 573, area code 573. Let's try... Okay, you should be unmuted. Oh.

Bill: Am I unmuted?

Ricky Enger: 573, you there?

Bill: I am here. Are you there?

Ricky Enger: Yes.

Bill: Okay. My name is Bill [inaudible 00:39:25], I live in Columbia, Missouri. I have used all three of Uber, Lyft, and GoGoGrandparent. I used GoGo before I had a smartphone, I had a dumb phone. For whatever reason, they charge you a concierge fee, which is 3, or 4, or 5 bucks per ride depending upon how long your ride is. They also charge you by the mile and by the minute.

Once I got a smartphone, I went to Uber and Lyft, where I used [inaudible 00:40:02] Lyft when I was using GoGo. I got ripped off by Uber. The guy knew I was blind, pretty obvious when you're walking around with a stick. Anyway, he got to this shopping center and he's like looking around for the place I want to go, and he's right in front of it. It cost me like 15 bucks when it should have cost about 10. Uber charges by the minute and by the mile, so if you get stuck in traffic, it's going to cost you more. The next day, I called GoGo, I got the same guy. There's no way to rate your driver with GoGo. He did the same thing, so it cost me like 15 bucks for a 10 dollar fare.

Well, I got wind of that, and I finally said, "Okay," I started using Lyft. Lyft charges ... when you put in your destination, it'll tell you before the driver even gets there how much it's going to cost. Now, from here to St. Louis is 100 and some miles. If I put in my destination, let's say 5 miles from here, it'll say it's, you know, $12.38. If the driver went via St. Louis, it'd still be $12.38. It doesn't matter how far it is, how far the driver goes if he goes out of his ways, if he's sitting around waiting on traffic light, if he's playing you, whatever. I exclusively use Lyft because of that. So if I go to the [inaudible 00:41:40] or I go to the bank or whatever, it's $12.38, it doesn't matter if it takes two hours, it's $12.38.

So anyway ... and I use Lyft probably 15 times a month, maybe more. It's very convenient. When the driver pulls up, they usually say my name. I change my name on my app to a nickname, so these drivers aren't going to know my name. My name could be Jasper or whatever. So anyway, I don't want to take up everybody's time, but that's my comments about that, and I love using Lyft.

Ricky Enger: That is fantastic information. I think that, at least fairly recently, Uber has changed its tactics and is operating much like Lyft in that you get a fare before you basically request the ride. That wasn't always the case for sure, because I've certainly had a very similar experience being stuck in New York traffic, and I paid for it. But I think that because there's competition in this space, Uber who might not want to be kind, necessarily, has kind of had to do that, because Lyft is competing, and they want to win in this space. So competition's good for everybody.

Let's go again, lots of people on the phone, which is super cool. 727 is up next, area code 727.

Area Code 727: Hi, Ricky.

Ricky Enger: Hi there.

Area Code 727: I have two questions. The first is if you're totally blind and use a wheelchair, what are your options as far as the vehicles with Uber in particular?

Ricky Enger: So for Uber and Lyft, and actually Lyft will send you a text message to this effect, they say that they do accommodate foldable wheelchairs. So even if you are getting a four seat, four passenger capacity vehicle, say that five times fast, you can still, if your wheelchair is foldable, you'll be able to do that.

Now when it comes to needing a wheelchair lift so that you don't have to transfer and you want to stay in your wheelchair and get transported by van, that is a little different. There are some options in some cities, but isn't standard. It isn't a standard portion of Lyft or Uber that you could specifically request a van that can accommodate a wheelchair using a lift.

Area Code 727: Now will the driver assist with getting that wheelchair in the vehicle, or is that not their responsibility?

Ricky Enger: It's technically not their responsibility. It depends on the driver. Much like transporting a guide dog, where technically they are required by law to do this [crosstalk 00:45:11] drivers still attempt not to. So at the end of the day, everyone, all of these drivers are human, and they can refuse even if they shouldn't, or they'll be perfectly happy to help. I don't think that either company has a policy specifically about assisting someone with a mobility aid. I think Blind Educator has a comment.

Blind Educator: Yeah, for Lyft, every time you summon it, they'll provide you with a link for you to add it to your profile so when you ask for or request a lift, they can try to make sure that they have one with a lift for a wheelchair. Uber still has the option on the tabs on the bottom, I believe, where you have the Uber assist where if you have a foldable chair, the drivers are trained specifically to assist disabled. Whether you take it or not is up to you, but if you ask for assistance, then they will be able to and are expected to come out of the car and assist you getting in the car and folding your chair and stuff. So you do have that option also.

Ricky Enger: That's great. I wonder if for Uber that is specific to your city, because I've not seen that.

Blind Educator: Yeah, it depends on within cities. Just like GoGoGrandparent is not in all cities.

Ricky Enger: But for Lyft, you're right, you can add that to your profile. So that's super useful to know. Thank you.

Area Code 727: I just have one more. We live in a gated community. Is there a place in the app or in your profile to put a gate code or would I have to go outside the gate and wait for the driver there?

Ricky Enger: Anyone have thoughts to offer on that? That is a great question.

Blind Educator: You can do one thing, and you have the other options, too. But you can text your driver with, in app, provide them with the code so they can get it, put in the code, and they can go in. Then there are other places. You can see that within concerts or with a big gathering, or even some apartment complex, if they do not allow ride share cars to go in, but they'll have a designated area where they can drop off and pick up. If they do it someplace else, then they might get fined, so you may want to find out in your apartment complex if there is a such a policy, and you could find out where the drop off and pick up spot may be if they do have that policy in your apartment complex.

Area Code 727: Okay. Thank you so much.

Ricky Enger: Great info, thank you. Vicky in Colorado, you are up next.

Katherine: Hello?

Ricky Enger: Yes?

Katherine: Hi, this is Katherine [inaudible 00:48:26], I'm in Colorado. I have a question. You said about Arrive, is there a way of contacting them? Do you have contact information?

Ricky Enger: That will be in my show notes, which you can find at ... I'm sorry, I don't have the exact website right in front of me. I can certainly look that up and make sure that we get that to you by the end of the program, but it is definitely available in our show notes. So anything that's mentioned here ...

Vicky: Ricky, this is Vicky. I'm on here now, sorry.

Ricky Enger: Yes.

Vicky: Not to interrupt, I just wanted to let you know I was here when you could get to me.

Ricky Enger: Got you, all right. I've just found the website. It is, so you can check out That should do it. Again, that'll be in the show notes as well if you aren't in a position [crosstalk 00:49:26] ...

Katherine: Could you repeat that again please?

Ricky Enger: Yes, that's arrive, A-R-R-I-V-E, rides, R-I-D-E-S, dot com.

Katherine: Okay, thank you.

Ricky Enger: Sure. All right, Vicky, it's your turn. Go ahead.

Vicky: Okay. A couple of comments first on Lyft. I don't know if this is true for Uber, because I haven't used Uber for a while, but on Lyft, if you get your first price and you haven't actually booked the ride, you haven't actually completed it, sometimes if you're in a city like where you're doing like a high demand area or time, that price will be a little bit different. Sometimes if you say, "Nah, I don't quite want that price," and check in a couple minutes later, sometimes you'll get a lower price, and you can take that one.

Ricky Enger: Yes, that's a super good point. This is called surge pricing. It can happen a lot, especially at night when there are a lot of people wanting to go to places, or it can happen at just weird times of day when there aren't that many drivers out, and so there are more riders than drivers. So they will move this to surge pricing, both to entice some drivers to come out, like, "Hey, you could make even more money right now, because we're in surge," and to basically possibly cut down on the number of riders just to give those drivers a bit to come on and be available. A lot of people will do just as you have where you're like, "I don't think I want to pay 1.5 times this normal fare. I'm going to wait five minutes until things have changed."

Vicky: Yeah, exactly. I don't do it a lot, but if I think the price, knowing what the rates are generally at, if I think it's a little bit high, I'll say, "Well, let me see. Maybe I'll try a little bit later," or whatever. Sometimes it doesn't work, but sometimes it will. Sometimes I've gotten almost a full ride amount back from doing that, which has really helped.

Then my other quick question about that, so I don't take up too much time, is do you know ... I mean, on Uber there's a way to let a person know, "Hey, I'm on this ride, and this is who I'm with." I don't think I've seen that on Lyft. If there's a link, I've missed it.

Ricky Enger: It is on Lyft, and I'm blanking as to exactly where it is. It is kind of buried. I think it's called, "Share ETA," is what it's called.

Vicky: Okay, I will look for that then. I will look for that. Thank you, thanks for much for doing this call. I'll jump off and let other people in here. Good to talk to you.

Ricky Enger: Absolutely. So 908, it is your turn. Area code 908.

Yolanda Edwards: Hi, my name is Yolanda Edwards. I have some comments in regards to Uber and Lyft. I'm an avid user, I travel with my two kids using both apps depending on ... sometimes Lyft takes a little longer, and they tend to be out of my state. I live in New Jersey. There was one time that I had to go towards a city that's not too far away, but the driver was coming from Manhattan, so unfortunately we were late for our appointment. But Uber seems to be located within my area more than Lyft, but I like either one, because it serves the purpose. But I have a question. Normally when they arrive, of course I will go up to the car and I will say, "Are you Uber?" But I never say their name. Is it a good idea to start saying their name along with, "Are you Uber?"

Ricky Enger: I think it's a good idea to ask for their name rather than saying it, just so that they can verify what's in your app. Since if you say their name, they could say, "Yeah, sure I'm that person."

Yolanda Edwards: Oh no.

Ricky Enger: Yeah, so it's a great idea to, rather than taking that approach, just to leave that on them to tell them who you are, and that way you're certain that you're getting into the right thing. Sometimes, they'll say your name, and [crosstalk 00:54:32] unless you're wearing a name tag, that's pretty okay, too. They see it on the app, and that's a good way to verify, "Oh, okay, you're here for me."

Yolanda Edwards: So how do you recommend it? I ask them for their name, what do I say?

Ricky Enger: What I usually do is, "Are you so and so from Lyft?" Or I'm sorry, "Are you from Lyft?" And they'll say, "Yes." And I'll say, "And your name is?"

Yolanda Edwards: Okay, got it.

Ricky Enger: That way you've verified first the company, and second their name.

Yolanda Edwards: Okay, that's awesome. Thank you. I never even thought of doing that, but even my kids do, which I'm going to have to show them what you showed me also. But when they're [crosstalk 00:55:20] ...

Ricky Enger: Absolutely. And they’ll pick it up.

Yolanda Edwards: Oh yeah. They do. They pick up everything else anyway, but yeah definitely, they’ll pick up that too.

Blind Educator: To add to that, what I normally do is I will text the driver letting them know that I'm blind and that they will be…they wouldn't mind being on the lookout for me, so there's the ones looking out for me.

Ricky Enger: And I do that, I do that on occasion. Usually when I do that, it's at a very busy place, so perhaps the airport and I'm being picked up, or there's a parking lot with a lot of cars and they all sound alike. If I text the driver and let them know what I'm wearing and have them be on the lookout, that really helps. I didn't really think of it as a safety feature, per se, but more as a since there's so many cars in some places, it's good to let your driver know that you're not going to spot them, so now they know. When you do that, by the way, you're going to get a text back saying, "So and so is driving right now and they may not be able to respond," but they will see that eventually. Usually, they'll honor that, or they may call you.

Let's go next to ... we have time for, perhaps, one, maybe two more. So let's go to 502. Area code 502.

Susan: Hi. Susan. I just wanted to say be careful what you put in your profile, because I've messed mine up with one of the companies. I have used GoGoGrandparent. The problem that I have with them is a lot of the ... I guess you could say, I don't know, you could say the people that take your information, sometimes they don't write down or don't seem to get all the information to the driver like I like, especially at my workplace. I've had to have my coworkers find the car for me, because I'm at a specific door, and the GPS may give them like the front of the building, I'm at the back of the building, and that's been a little difficult trying to get the driver to come to the right place.

Ricky Enger: Yeah, absolutely. That's good information, especially I'm so happy to know that there are people using GoGoGrandparent, because it's one that I haven't used yet. It's been really wonderful to have that specific information from people who actually use it, so that's awesome.

Susan: Yeah, I'm glad that they're there, but you've got to be very specific and persistent in getting them to give the driver the right information, because I've had trouble with, sometimes, them not giving all that to the driver, and then I'll just say, "I need to call the driver please," and they'll tell you which number to push to get the driver, and then you can talk with them directly.

Ricky Enger: Excellent.

Susan: Which is a good thing. I've had to do that just to say, "Hey, go to the back of the building." Then I've also had, like I say, my coworkers find the driver for me. They found the car.

Ricky Enger: Yeah, that's [crosstalk 00:58:37] have to do that, but so if you are using GoGoGrandparent, just be aware that you may have to be really explicit and continue to tell them until they get it or speak to the driver. One last quick question from Ena. If you're available, you are up next.

Ena: Yes, hi. Can you hear me?

Ricky Enger: Yes.

Ena: Oh, great, wonderful. I'm on my phone, so I wasn't sure. Just two quick things. Number one, I work for the Texas Talking Book program, and I have a transportation guide. So if anybody on the call is from Texas or knows anybody in Texas that needs transportation information, you can call or email the Texas Talking Book program, and I can send out that guide.

I also wanted to mention, if the caller is still on the line, about the wheelchair accessible vehicles. I know that Uber does have a service called Uber WAV, W-A-V, which stands for Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle. I'm sure ... I've never used it myself, and I'm sure that it's more available in big cities, but I live in Austin, Texas, and I know that we do have Uber WAV in Austin. So if you live in a big city somewhere, you may have access to Uber WAV.

Ricky Enger: That's awesome information. Thank you so much. Again, if you are in Texas and you'd like access to this guide, call the ... did you say the Texas State Library like NLS?

Ena: Yeah, the Texas Talking Book program. You can find us at

Ricky Enger: Excellent. If anyone else lives in a state that has a guide like this, because what a great resource, do let me know.

Also, if you had information that you really wanted to share with everyone and we just didn't get time to do that, please feel free to contact me by email. You can do that at E-N-G-E-R at H-A-D-L-E-Y, .edu. That's

Ricky Enger: That's going to wrap it up for this evening. So much great information that was shared. Remember, check out those show notes for anything that you missed, Thank you all again so much for joining us. I hope to see you back next month.