After just one year in business, RidePlus has accomplished more than just getting clients from point A to point B.
RidePlus, which provides private transportation and optional assistance services, designed especially for older adults, has expanded its services to Florida, as well as building its demographic, creating opportunities and lasting relationships along the way.
With more than 200 reservations per week and six drivers who have medical assisting background, RidePlus has seen its ridership increase.
“Since the first quarter of this year, we have seen our ridership more than triple without any major marketing or partnership or contractual relationship,” says Edward Hoffman, founder and CEO of RidePlus. Business has grown due to positive word of mouth and referrals, he says, as well as the fact that there were few services available like it.
After Hoffman witnessed his own grandparents lose mobility, he knew it was time to provide a transportation service that his own family could be proud. Drawing on his experience as the owner of Safe Car Service, which focused on campus transportation, Hoffman created RidePlus.
“I thought, if it’s affecting my life, maybe there are a lot of other families out there like mine,” Hoffman says. “All of them have said to me this is exactly the program we would have imagined using had it been available for our own family. It touches home for us because we are beginning to understand that it’s something that will affect all of us.”
With this resource available for those caring for their parents, it helps relieve the tension and guilt involved in the change in mobility, helping to maintain the relationship between caregiver/child and parent.
“We’ve had a young adult say, ‘You’ve saved the relationship between me and my mom,’” Hoffman says. “That definitely was one of those things that made all of our hard work worth it. We’re really making a difference in the quality of people’s lives and doing something special.”
Not only is RidePlus helping the caregivers live their lives with less stress, but it also allows the senior clients more more freedom.
“One of our clients is 89 years old and she has never driven a day in her life,” says Justin Peterson, a RidePlus driver. “Without our services, she wouldn’t be able to spend time at the pool and therapy.
Peterson adds, “We had a client who was in tears because she was so excited to get out and spend time away from her care center.”
But Hoffman wanted RidePlus to be more than just a cab in the area. He emphasized the attentive, unique care one must take with a senior citizen, recruiting drivers with medical assisting backgrounds.
Drivers go through extensive training, including tuberculosis screening, first aid and CPR certifications, and they must pass PASS — Passenger Assistance Service & Safety Training.
Hoffman says the service the drivers provide is the cornerstone of the RidePlus experience. In fact, RidePlus receives phone calls asking for specific drivers when they set their appointments.
“People rearrange their own schedule to get the driver they request,” Hoffman says. “They’re much more than clients. We actually have a role in improving their lives.”
Peterson says, “Eighty-five percent of our clients are going to an appointment that they really don’t want to be at … doctors or dialysis. So it’s very important that we keep the clients’ spirits up during the ride.”
Because RidePlus has established itself as a transportation provider that cares and listens, parents began calling to see if RidePlus could extend its service and transport children from school to after-school programs and then home.
“Because of the trustworthy, personal level of our services, our youngest clients are as young as 8 years old,” Hoffman says. “We transport throughout the school year. We work with the blind. We work with anybody that requires a little extra care.
“As much as we talk about ourselves as a senior transportation service, people often look at us as a family transportation service, and we really provide that trustworthy extension of the family,” he says.
RidePlus is also located in Sarasota, Fla., where the area is densely populated with a high percentage of seniors.
In the Phoenix area, RidePlus services the following areas: Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Glendale, Peoria, Sun City, Surprise, Avondale, and more.
For more information about RidePlus or to schedule an appointment, visit www.rideplus.net or call toll-free (877) 743-3090.