Officials in the Atlanta area are expanding the use of Uber to transport seniors, another sign that ride-hailing companies are eyeing the elderly as a potentially lucrative if unlikely pool of customers.

The Fulton County Commission has decided to spend $10,000 to fund Uber rides for the elderly to and from area senior centers, supplementing the current transportation service. If the next phase of the pilot program is successful, one of the backers of the senior center told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he would recommend devoting $500,000 — 10 percent of the senior transportation budget — to ride-hailing services.

County officials say using Uber provides greater availability and flexibility than booking rides with the current transportation service, which must be arranged far in advance and often come with long delays.

Under the program, Uber allows volunteers to book rides on behalf of seniors, who may lack smartphones or tech-savvy — certainly one of the main barriers in getting seniors to adopt ride-hailing services. 

The terms of the county’s arrangement with Uber were not available; according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Uber was testing a new technology and required a non-disclosure agreement.

Both Uber and its chief U.S. rival,  Lyft, have launched initiatives catering to seniors. Uber announced last year that it would be seeking to enter partnerships with “local senior advocates, organizations, and municipalities around the country.” In a slickly-produced video, seniors tout the ease with which they learned to use the Uber app.

Uber has also partnered with state of New South Wales in Australia to give the 1.4 million holders of the NSW Seniors Card discounts on Uber rides while also encouraging them to become Uber drivers.

Earlier this year, Lyft announced a partnership with the National Medtrans Network whereby drivers would provide rides to non-emergency medical appointments for seniors in New York City. 

There’s also Lift Hero, a San Francisco start-up that specializes in providing transportation to seniors. Unlike Uber, the company offers users the ability to book rides over the phone.

Underlying the outreach to seniors is the demographic reality that aging baby-boomers will increasingly require transportation assistance. One recent report had the subtitle: “Fixing the Mobility Crisis Threatening the Baby Boom Generation.”

There’s already plenty of anecdotal evidence of seniors increasingly using ride-hailing services — often with the aid of an adult child or grandchild.

Another potential benefit for Uber and Lyft in reaching out to seniors is public relations. Uber has featured photos of smiling drivers helping old women into their cars, images that probably play better than the popular image of ride-hailing users as entitled yuppies and the like.

One thing that doesn’t appear to be a component of Lyft or Uber’s senior programs: differential rates for drivers, who may be expected to provide more assistance than they would under normal circumstances.