Lyft + United Way: A Nationwide and Local Collaboration to Meet Unmet Transportation Needs

Updated November 2019
Since 2018, United Way for Greater Austin has partnered with Lyft in a variety of ways to support the transportation needs of our 2-1-1 callers. This post may no longer accurately reflect our current partnership with Lyft. Please call 2-1-1 for the most up-to-date information.

2-1-1 gets calls for a variety of needs, like a woman with breast cancer going through chemo. Fighting cancer is hard work, but imagine trying to fight cancer without having safe and consistent transportation to your vital medical appointments. Not only are you physically and emotionally drained from fighting for your life, but you also have the added stress of finding a way to access the treatment you desperately need.

In 2017, Untied 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.

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.

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.

For more information, call 2-1-1.