Uber Technologies and Lyft are spending millions of dollars to provide drivers with access to COVID-19 vaccines and offering tens of millions of free or discounted rides to vaccination sites for people in communities that lack access to transportation and healthcare services.
The effort is both public-spirited, and self-interested.
Ride-hailing demand is ramping up throughout the United States from pandemic-induced lows, but drivers are still slow to return to the road, slowing the companies’ efforts to rebuild revenues.
Lack of transportation is a major hurdle to healthcare equity and vaccine access, and studies show fewer options for medical care in low-income and Black communities, which are frequently poorly served by public transit and have lower car ownership rates.
At Uber, a large team of employees has started calling thousands of drivers who left the platform over the past year, asking them what they need to return, Uber US and Canada Head of Driver Operations Carrol Chang told Reuters.
The company is trying to address drivers’ main concerns – safety and earnings – through mask mandates, a vaccination partnership with Walgreen’s and $250 million (roughly Rs. 1,868 crores) in pay guarantees and incentives.
The Walgreen’s partnership has allowed Uber to distribute unique codes to more than 240,000 drivers in several states, including California, Illinois, Virginia and New Jersey, allowing them to book a vaccination appointment at the pharmacy chain.
Lyft said it is…