Alena has a physiotherapist appointment. She recently injured her ankle and isn't able to walk on the cobblestone streets that surround her home in Jeseník, Czech Republic. In a city that has no public transport she simply opens the Oscar Senior app and orders a taxi. The convenient 15-minute ride saves her from further injury and pain. When the taxi arrives, she greets her driver, Havel, with a smile and hello.
Knowing the driver’s name makes Alena feel comfortable. During the ride she tells Havel all about her holiday season, including how proud she was to have learned to use the new tablet her son gave her for Christmas.
Alena says: "I never thought I would say this, but I am so grateful for technology. I remember the days when I needed to use the car service from the municipality. I had to order it at least 24 hours in advance. Now I just open the app, see who will pick me up and a taxi arrives.”
There is no public transportation in the Czech town of Jeseník. To help older adults move around town and visit doctors, pharmacies and government offices the municipality provided a car service for the local seniors. Each senior was able to use the service up to 4 times per month with a split fare: 1€ paid by the senior and the remainder, about €5, paid by the city government.
Unfortunately this program couldn’t be registered as a taxi service because of regulations so seniors were forced to order the service by telephone at least a day in advance. Restrictive legislation and poor customer experience ordering meant the service didn’t scale.
Working with city representatives, Oscar Senior came up with a solution: combining the digital infrastructure of an existing taxi service with the Oscar Senior app—a digital communication platform many older adults in the area already used. This new and improved app has provided seniors with a very simple and intuitive way to book the car service.
This innovative solution helps older adults order a ride in a more flexible and effective way. It is also beneficial for the taxi drivers, increasing non-peak bookings who often become regular customers. Additionally, the maintenance time, driver and vehicle costs have decreased by 80% saving the local government valuable money. This intuitive booking service combined with more available taxis has helped more and more seniors take advantage of the program. The average number of monthly rides taken by older adults has increased approximately 40% each year from 2018 to 2020.
This digital service is also available for implementation in other cities within the Czech Republic. If your city could benefit from the service, visit www.oscarsenior.com and contact Tomas at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
(c) T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times - For informational purposes only.