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Senior Transportation Initiative Spurs Economic Opportunity while Meeting Community Needs

Senior Transportation Initiative Spurs Economic Opportunity while Meeting Community Needs

UberMayor Ed Braddy, Chamber Interim President/CEO Susan Davenport and other leaders embarked on an April economic development marketing delegation trip to share the story of opportunity in Gainesville with Silicon Valley tech companies and investors. A concept stemming from ideas conceived on this trip has led to an innovative senior transportation initiative, Freedom in Motion, announced last Wednesday by Mayor Braddy, Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce VP of Business Development and Operations Adrian Taylor joined Uber Executive Anthony Spadafino and ElderCare of Alachua County Executive Director Anthony Clarizio.

“Today marks a teaching moment,” Taylor said. “The lesson is that economic development leads not just to business growth and economic prosperity, but also to community progress.”

While meeting the critical transportation needs of Gainesville seniors, the pilot initiative–powered by the Uber App–will also provide a growth opportunity for the company and create new economic opportunities for Gainesville citizens. The pilot initiative will open for enrollment mid-September and be available to Gainesville seniors ages 60 and up to use, starting from a limited number of locations. The City of Gainesville has invested $15,000 in funding the pilot initiative. Mayor Braddy–who expressed hopes of expanding the program after the pilot provides more data on the demand–heralded Freedom in Motion as an example of the type of solution-driven partnerships that Gainesville government, business and community leaders are committed to developing in response to both quality-of-life needs and business-growth goals across the community.

“Truly innovative solutions prioritize user experience right along with efficiency and cost-effectiveness,” said Mayor Ed Braddy. “Freedom in Motion demonstrates the City of Gainesville’s commitment to identifying business solutions to community needs, and engaging community partners to facilitate them in a way that results in new economic activity, creates new job opportunities and presents the least possible burden for taxpayers.”

Seniors in attendance expressed enthusiasm at the prospect of on-demand transportation.

“We need transportation,” said local senior Shirley Bloodworth, who also leads the Community Coalition for Older Adults. “Freedom of Motion is what we are about, and I encourage seniors to take advantage of this program.”

Seniors interested in enrolling in Freedom in Motion should contact ElderCare of Alachua County. Smartphones for use in accessing the Uber app may be provided to seniors who do not have access to them.

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