Ride Trade is a service model that allows university students and local adults to help each other out by trading services, skills, goods, or more. Older adults that need help getting rides to places sign up for the Ride Trade app. Local university students that want to help out and get a good, service, or community service hours in return sign up for the app. They are then paired with an older adult who is able to provide something valuable to them such as a cooked meal, music lessons, tutoring, or community service hours necessary for a club or greek life.
Not only is the student able to give them rides, but they are able to help assist in other related tasks such as bringing groceries in, waiting at the doctor’s office, or walking the rider up to their door. This is a more holistically helpful ride service than things such as Uber that strictly only offer a ride. This service also allows for directness getting straight from one place to another, and is cost effective as the older adult is not paying, but offering one of their skills as payment. It allows both for scheduled rides and spontaneous rides if the driver is available when requested. The drivers are also vetted in a way that Uber drivers are not, as they have to go through their university credentials to be able to sign up.
Critically, this service model addresses the issues of directness, cost, and help beyond the ride that services such as Uber and public transit don’t address. Realistically though, I don’t know if any university student would sign up for this as opposed to getting a job that pays actual money, unless they needed community service hours. I also wonder what sort of skills or services the older adults would be able to provide. The primary research group said they wanted drivers they could trust rather than Uber drivers, and that it is stressful to have to find a random car, so perhaps the consistency of a certain person and vehicle is a necessary attribute to look into.