The company has also teamed up with New York's Citi Bike to provide transportation to essential workers.

By Alison Fox
Updated August 09, 2020
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Ride share company Lyft is donating tens of thousands of free rides to people in need as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread throughout the country.

Through their, LyftUp initiative, which partners with government agencies and community organizations, the ride-sharing company will focus on helping on families and children, low-income seniors, as well as doctors and nurses who need transportation to work.

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“We know Lyft can be a critical lifeline for communities in need — this situation is no different,” the company said in a statement, adding, “many vulnerable populations still don’t have as much access to these essential services as they should. So we’re taking immediate action to fill the gaps, while continuously working to protect driver safety.”

As part of the initiative, Lyft will offer rides to caregivers who work with the National Council on Aging to deliver food and supplies to those who are homebound. The company is also coordinating with its partners to expand access to free rides to and from grocery stores, as well as working with several Medicaid agencies to incorporate Lyft into their programs and get people to critical medical appointments.

Additionally, the company said it was using drivers to deliver medical supplies to the elderly and those with chronic conditions, as well as deliver meals to kids who used to receive free or subsidized school meals. The company has also launched a pilot program in the Bay Area to deliver food to homebound seniors.

This isn’t the first time the company has activated its LyftUp program, even working with LeBron James to expand bike share access in the past.

To protect drivers during this time, ride share companies, including Lyft and Uber, have taken precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. Lyft, for example, said it would temporarily suspend any driver or rider who tested positive for COVID-19 and work with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to identify anyone who may have come in contact with the virus. Both Uber and Lyft have suspended their “pool” programs, or shared rides.

Lyft is not alone in stepping up to help those suffering during these turbulent times. Last week, Uber Eats announced it will be waiving delivery fees for independent restaurants in an effort to promote business.

In New York, Lyft has teamed up with Citi Bike to provide free memberships to healthcare workers, NYPD, FDNY, MTA employees for 30 days in an initiative entitled, "Citi Bike Critical Workforce Membership Program."

“Having seen higher demand for Citi Bikes near our critical hospitals, Lyft has arrived at a generous and creative plan that will help get first responders where they need to go,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said in a statement. “I cannot thank them enough. If your job at the MTA, NYPD, FDNY or a hospital requires you to move around, I strongly encourage you to become a Citi Bike member — and take advantage of this means of transportation that is fast and convenient. In these difficult times, Citi Bikes — which are also being cleaned with increased regularity — allow riders to remain safe and socially distant.”

Healthcare employers should email HeroBikes@Lyft.com to obtain enrollment information to distribute to staff.