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Turkey Creek Forest Senior Takes First Ride With New Uber Program

For Shirley Bloodworth, having access to Uber means she’ll be mobile long after she quits driving.

The 86-year-old Turkey Creek Forest resident was the first participant to ride with Uber as a part of the Freedom in Motion program, which is set to launch officially next month. It will benefit local seniors living in Turkey Creek Forest and the 400 Building in downtown Gainesville by providing them rides through a co-pay system subsidized by the City of Gainesville during a six-month trial period.

Bloodworth said she took her ride on Sept. 2 after a meeting at ElderCare of Alachua County, Inc.'s senior recreation center. An Uber representative showed her how to request an Uber ride, and the driver drove her from the center to her home in Turkey Creek Forest.

“The mayor wished me well, the Uber representative shook my hand, I got in the car and drove off,” she said.

Bloodworth, a co-chair of the Community Coalition for Older Adults, said transportation has been a concern for local seniors.

“If people who live here can’t drive, they become dependent on other people because there is no transportation here,” she said. “It’s an important ingredient for us to have Uber.”

Bloodworth anticipates that the program will allow her neighbors the chance to get more involved in social activities beyond the neighborhood, and that it will be a great community-bonding experience.

She said the project will be an affordable option for seniors to try, since the cost will be based on a co-pay system. Depending on income, the cost will range from $5 per ride to free rides.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity, and I hope my fellow Turkey Creek Forest-ers take advantage of it,” Bloodworth said. “I’m very hopeful they will because there’s very progressive people here.”

Greg Wilkin, a 64-year-old Turkey Creek resident, said he believes his neighbors will greatly appreciate having the transportation option.

While Wilkin considers himself to be low-tech, he said that many Turkey Creek Forest residents use smartphones, which will help them use Uber since the ride-sharing service is accessed through a smartphone app.

“Most of the older people I see here want to keep up with things. They’re not just set in their ways,” he said.

Sharon Williams, a 48-year-old certified nursing assistant, regularly assists a Turkey Creek Forest resident. She said she thinks local family members of the senior citizens will be thankful their loved ones will have this option.

“Some families work and go to school, and they don’t really have the time to cater to them,” she said. “This is a retirement city, so a lot of people need to go to places and do things, go to doctors appointments and different things like that. I think it’ll be great, so they can get out and enjoy life.”

Griffin is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing