AUSTIN, Texas – United Way for Greater Austin is pleased to launch a new partnership with Lyft and United Way Worldwide to provide free rides to those with unmet transportation needs.
In 2017, United Way for Greater Austin took more than 5,000 transportation-related calls, 423 were from veterans and 1,629 were requesting help with medical transportation. As the suburbanization of poverty increases, with low-income families moving further away from the city, the amount of people with unmet transportation needs increases. Transportation calls come into 2-1-1 for many reasons including a cancer patient needing transportation to a chemo appointment, a mother needing assistance getting her young son to the doctor, an individual trying to access a food pantry we referred them to. Transportation needs in Austin prevent many of our citizens from gaining access to the resources or immediate help they need, and the Lyft-United Way partnership seeks to address that.
On June 4, 2018, the six-month pilot program began in twelve markets around the nation. The goal of the partnership is to eliminate barriers around transportation by scheduling free rides to clients in the Austin Metro Area. United Way for Greater Austin defines the Metro Area as Austin, Round Rock, Del Valle, Cedar Park, Pflugerville and Buda.
Lyft and United Way are joining forces to provide free rides to those in need through the 2-1-1 system. Lyft has committed $1.5 million to the Lyft Relief Rides program in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Cleveland, Denver, Houston, Milwaukee, Nashville, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Diego and San Francisco. United Way is their largest partner on this initiative.
The purpose of the program is to fill the unmet needs gap for transportation assistance in partnership with United Way by providing free Lyft rides for:
- Healthcare: Medical appointments, ER return home and access to other healthcare services.
- Employment: Job interviews, job fairs and completing other pre-employment steps like fingerprinting.
- Disasters: Transportation in times of disaster to help people evacuate safely and return home once safe.
Veterans: Providing transportation for veterans to more easily access benefits, healthcare services, employment counseling or job fairs and other needs.
Have questions? Email Madyson Russell at firstname.lastname@example.org