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With Safe, Reliable Transportation to Medical Appointments

August 18, 2016 (San Rafael, CA) — Marin Senior Coordinating Council, better known as Whistlestop, today announced a joint partnership with ride sharing service Lyft and San Francisco’s Institute on Aging (IOA) to provide older adults safe, reliable transportation to medical appointments and other services. Using a combination of Whistlestop vans, drivers on the Lyft platform and proprietary software, the new partnership will allow Whistlestop to get more seniors to medical appointments while reducing travel time, keeping rides on schedule and maintaining cost efficiency. Rides under the new partnership will begin September 1, 2016.

A Unique Demographic

Every year, around 3.6 million Americans miss or delay medical care because they lack appropriate transportation to their appointments, and seniors in San Francisco are no exception. Many older adults have regular medical appointments and limited transportation options. In addition, more than a quarter of Americans 65 and older don’t own smartphones, making it challenging for them to utilize some of the newer ride sharing platforms that have flooded the market in recent years.

Bay Area Leaders Pave the Way in New Transportation Solutions for Seniors

Whistlestop currently provides transportation for approximately 100 older adults every weekday to and from IOA’s campus on Geary Street in San Francisco to attend health, wellness and nutrition programs. Under the new partnership, Whistlestop will expand mid-day transportations options for IOA clients with a combination of Whistlestop vans and drivers on the Lyft platform. Whistlestop will request rides for IOA clients using Concierge, Lyft’s proprietary web-based dashboard– no smart phone required. Regular rides can be scheduled, and real-time reporting leaves no questions about the successful completion of scheduled rides. According to Whistlestop CEO Joe O’Hehir, “You can have the greatest healthcare system ever built, but if patients are unable to get there, it makes no difference and has no impact. Our new partnership with Lyft is a perfect example of how Whistlestop is committed to expanding our programs and services in order to help our community’s older adults maintain independence and good health for as long as possible.”

Institute on Aging has a 30-year history serving older adults in the San Francisco community. With the changing face of healthcare, the effective management of transportation to assure that seniors have access to medical appointments and wellness programs becomes even more critical. According to Tom Briody, CEO of IOA, “This new arrangement will benefit our clients by reducing travel time on buses, keeping departures on schedule and providing more flexibility around ride scheduling, all without adding additional buses to the current Whistlestop fleet. It’s a wonderful use of technology and creativity to solve a complicated challenge.”

In an effort to fully deliver on its slogan, “A ride whenever you need one,” Lyft is expanding its mission to create a new mobility option for older adults and caregivers that help make transportation for seniors easy and reliable. “Partnering with Whistlestop and IOA to provide seniors with safe, reliable rides to non-emergency medical appointments allows us to continue working toward our vision of reconnecting people and communities through better transportation,” said Gyre Renwick, Lyft’s head of enterprise healthcare partnerships.

Future Rides for Bay Area Seniors

As a Bay Area leader for over 40 years providing transportation to seniors and persons with disabilities, Whistlestop is uniquely positioned to provide patient-driven health care organizations with viable and affordable transportation alternatives. According to Whistlestop CEO Joe O’Hehir, “By partnering with ride-sharing company Lyft, Whistlestop is leading the way in forging creative solutions to a complicated transportation challenge. Beyond our new venture with IOA in San Francisco, we are currently examining future opportunities to integrate Lyft into our many services for older adults at our home base in Marin County.”

About Whistlestop

Founded in 1954 as Marin Senior Coordinating Council, Whistlestop promotes the independence, well-being and quality of life for older adults and people living with disabilities in Marin County. Whistlestop’s Active Aging Center provides delicious meals, educational classes, multicultural gatherings and helpful information and referral services. Whistlestop also provides special needs transportation services through Marin Access, a partnership of Whistlestop, Marin Transit and Golden Gate Transit, and operates Marin’s Meals on Wheels program, serving meals to over 250 homebound seniors each week in the Marin community. For more information about Whistlestop and its classes and services, visit

About Lyft
Lyft was founded in June 2012 by Logan Green and John Zimmer to reconnect people and communities through better transportation. Lyft is the fastest growing rideshare company in the U.S and is available in more than 200 cities. Lyft is preferred by drivers and passengers for its safe and friendly experience, and its commitment to affecting positive change for the future of our cities. For more information, visit

About Institute on Aging

Founded in 1985, Institute on Aging is one of Northern California’s largest community-based nonprofit organizations providing comprehensive health, social, and psychological services for seniors and adults with disabilities. Institute on Aging’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for adults as they age by enabling them to maintain their health, well-being, independence and participation in the community. In addition to home care, it also offers transitional and long-term care management, psychological and counseling services, social day care and a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (in partnership with On Lok Lifeways). Long considered one of the most innovative and diverse organizations of its kind, Institute on Aging currently touches the lives of more than 20,000 seniors and adults with disabilities and their families each year through programs designed to alleviate isolation, and enable older adults to continue living independently in the community. Services support individuals in San Francisco, Marin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda and Contra Costa counties. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Jennifer Golbus, Whistlestop
(415) 302-2368

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