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May Brill, 92, enjoys taking classes at Katz JCC, but the center’s bus only runs until 1 pm, making it difficult for her to get there in the afternoon.

Katz JCC, Samost Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Southern New Jersey and Jewish Senior Housing are working to change that. This fall, the organizations collaborated to educate seniors in using Uber. Marketing the plan as S-Uber, it’s a way to introduce the transportation service to South Jersey residents 60 and over.

“Transportation is the pathway to independence, and S-Uber can be far more affordable and responsive to their immediate needs,” says Marcy Weiner Lahav, adult cultural and Judaic director for Katz JCC. She hopes seniors will use the app for many transportation needs, including doctor appointments, the beauty shop, the airport or venturing into Philadelphia.

Training sessions have been offered, with several more to come, to teach seniors and their families how to download and use the Uber app on a smartphone, how to enter a credit card and request a ride.

“Uber is doing the training, and they are giving patrons an initial discount,” Weiner Lahav says. “We are hoping Verizon will provide us with some refurbished phones for those who find it too expensive to purchase one. If they don’t want a smartphone, a loved one, someone they trust, can have the app for them.”

Using Uber’s carpooling component, customers can share a ride, keeping costs even lower. That’s attractive to Brill. “It’s cheaper than a regular taxi and more convenient,” she says. “I have two daughters who live nearby, and they can put the app on their smartphone. When I need it, they can do the calling for me.”

Brill believes the service will also make the roads safer. “Many older people will stop driving late in the afternoon or evening if they have the advantage of transportation,” she says. “As an older person, I will take advantage of it because I don’t drive anymore. And I have friends who will come with me so it won’t be too expensive for me to get where I want to go. There are so many things to take advantage of at the community center that now I’ll be able to do.”

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