Sun City seniors take advantage of new, free autonomous vehicle shuttle service
SUN CITY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Many seniors at the Bell Recreation Center in Sun City have heard about a new shuttle service that can help them get around town, but only some are ready to try it.
Shirley Schwartz, 81, was one of the first to sign up and get a ride with one of the driverless vehicles. “I’ve used it two or three times now,” said Schwartz. “I have come here to the Bell Rec Center for fitness, and to the library that’s here. I’ve used it to go to line dancing and club meetings, and I’ve gone to Safeway and CVS with it.”
A company called May Mobility launched a pilot program in Sun City that offers residents free rides to about a dozen stops. The program is sponsored by AARP and aims to help seniors who don’t have a car or should no longer be driving.
All seniors have to do is request a ride on their cell phones, and an autonomous van will pick them up. “We know that in this part of the Valley, there’s a lack of public transportation, and huge demand for May Mobility options,” said Jonathan Garrett, with May Mobility’s Senior Business Development Division. “We wanted to come in and promote another choice for folks to get around community.”
The 6-month pilot program is made up of two vehicles that are available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Both vans can accommodate wheelchair riders, and every vehicle has an operator. The average wait time for a ride is 5 to 10 minutes. For seniors who aren’t tech savvy, the service allows them to call for a ride directly without using the mobile app. The phone number is 602-647-3953.
“I think its a wonderful idea,” said Vicki Pedeferri of Sun City. “I think there are a lot of people that can’t get around that need help. Now they can just make a phone call, and they can show up take then to grocery store, or doctor’s appointment, or whatever.”
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