Parker said it is getting harder for elderly people — especially those with significant others who may be around the same age — to get to medical appointments or hospitals. “It’s much easier to put him in a ride-share and for [his wife] to assist him,” he said.
As the population ages and the demand for healthcare rises, the future of medical transportation is in ride-sharing services, experts say. Such arrangements will be a topic of conversation at Bisnow’s National Healthcare West event June 7 at the JW Marriott in Los Angeles. Though there is a huge demand to develop medical facilities around public transportation stops, not enough healthcare providers are doing it yet, Parker said.
And living in car-centric Los Angeles, Parker said people still prefer using cars rather than public transportation, especially for a medical appointment or a minor procedure. “There’s an Orange [bus] line here that takes people all over the Valley but we’re not seeing any medical facilities being built around that line,” he said. “We haven’t seen that kind of development.” Missed appointments cost the healthcare industry $150B each year, according to several healthcare reports. The reasons for the no-shows vary — mostly from the patient side, such as forgotten appointments due to too much time between visits, a distrust of seeing a doctor, cost and other reasons.
But one of the single biggest reasons is lack of transportation.
When Willie Stewart Ashton moved from his native Westmoreland County in rural Virginia to Washington in the early 1950s, he found his calling.
“I wanted to be a mechanic, but I decided to forgo that and come into Washington and be a taxi driver,” said Mr. Willie, as his friends call him. “I wanted to be independent.”
Sixty-four years later, Ashton still plies the capital city’s roads. At 85, he’s one of about 250 D.C. cabbies who are at least 75 years old. They are the last of a generation of old school drivers hanging onto a profession in decline, who simply enjoy driving and conversing as much as earning some money to augment their Social Security income.
Ride-hailing apps have brought a new level of convenience to many consumers and provided new work opportunities. But these benefits have often come at the expense of full-time drivers’ wages and job stability. Both traditional taxi drivers and ride-hailing drivers are feeling increasingly squeezed.