Uber on Monday launched a "Vaccine Access Fund," encouraging rideshare customers to donate in order to provide free rides to those who need one to get the jab.
The initiative, set up with Walgreens and PayPal, and will be managed by the nonprofit Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Uber shared with Travel + Leisure. The money will then be distributed among local community organizations while LISC will provide the technical support so people can book rides even if they don't have smartphones or credit cards.
To start, Uber, Walgreens, and PayPal have pitched in $11 million.
"At Uber, we're committed to helping ensure transportation is not a barrier to getting a vaccine," Julia Paige, Uber's director of social impact, told T+L, adding the initiative will "help those most in need reach a vaccine."
Customers can donate through the Uber or Uber Eats app by tapping the "donate" message and choosing their donation amount. People can donate different amounts from $5 up to $50.
"Nobody should miss their opportunity to get the vaccine because they don't have a ride — yet nearly half of Americans can't access public transportation and millions miss medical appointments due to a lack of transportation," the company wrote. "Uber can help bridge that gap and, with our new in-app donation feature… we can all pitch in."
When the rides are no longer needed, Uber said it would donate any remaining funds to "advance health equity in underserved communities including helping to provide rides to medical appointments."
Beyond the Vaccine Access Fund, Uber committed to provide 10 million free or discounted rides to vaccine sites through partnerships with community organizations, including the National Urban League and the National Action Network.
Fellow rideshare company Lyft is also making vaccine access a priority, working to provide free rides to those who are low-income, uninsured, and in at-risk communities.
Those who do get the vaccine can then celebrate with some exciting freebies like free doughnuts from Krispy Kreme "anytime, any day, even every day through the remainder of 2021."
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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