PHILADELPHIA, P.A. — United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ) announced the launch of the Ride United Vaccine Access Campaign which provides anyone 65 years or older with access to free and discounted rides to vaccination sites in Philadelphia. In partnership with Lyft and the City of Philadelphia, the Ride United Vaccine Access Campaign prioritizes vaccination distribution to people and communities hit hardest by the Covid-19 virus.
Transportation has proven to be a key barrier for many individuals looking to obtain vaccines. As vaccine distribution expands, it is more important than ever that low-income individuals and families who may not have the internet or own a smartphone can access vaccination sites.
Working closely with the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Emergency Management, UWGPSNJ partnered with Lyft and United Way Worldwide in March to pilot vaccination transportation for seniors through 211, a free and confidential hotline service. The pilot program was made available to a small number of residents in communities with limited transportation options and high populations of vulnerable adults.
With local funding from Merck, the pilot program is now expanding to support 3,200 Lyft rides in Philadelphia with the goal of providing rides to and from vaccination sites for low-income, uninsured, and at-risk communities. In addition to free transportation, individuals will receive 1:1 outreach to ensure they have the resources needed to schedule appointments. A volunteer dispatch hub has been created to coordinate communication and manage volunteer outreach efforts.
“Our community has continued to step up and support COVID-19 response and recovery – and now, vaccination efforts.” said Bill Golderer, CEO & President of UWGPSNJ. “Ride United adds even more momentum to help ensure that transportation and equity gaps do not prevent Philadelphians from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. By utilizing our network of resources, we can support individuals who may not have access to the internet or who need additional assistance scheduling their vaccine appointment.”
Currently underway in Philadelphia, the service is available for anyone 65 years or older, or those who have access or functional needs. To sign up for a ride, residents can call the City’s transportation hotline, run through the City of Philadelphia’s Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service, at 215-586-3006 to request a ride between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. A representative will help to identify the best transportation resource to meet that person’s needs.
Since the start of Ride United in 2018, Lyft has provided tens of thousands of rides in more than 40 markets. This latest implementation of vaccination rides is part of the greater Ride United Program that seeks to reduce transportation barriers that prevent community members from accessing healthcare, obtaining quality jobs, completing education programs, and more.
About United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey
Celebrating 100 years, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ) is on a mission to reduce poverty and expand opportunity for all. Serving Pennsylvania’s Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, and New Jersey’s Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May and Cumberland counties, United Way creates solutions that break the cycle of poverty. As part of a network of independent local nonprofit organizations, United Way provides countless ways to give, advocate and volunteer. To learn more, visit www.unitedforimpact.org.
Lyft was founded in 2012 and is one of the largest transportation networks in the United States and Canada. As the world shifts away from car ownership to transportation-as-a-service, Lyft is at the forefront of this massive societal change. Our transportation network brings together rideshare, bikes, scooters, car rentals and transit all in one app. We are singularly driven by our mission: to improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation. To learn more, visit https://www.lyft.com/vaccine-access.
About Ride United
Ride United addresses unmet transportation needs for individuals and families in communities across the country. With COVID-19 presenting new barriers to food access, especially for older adults and individuals with higher vulnerability, Ride United now offers deliveries of food and household goods. Utilizing the Lyft network, participating local United Way and 211 teams are able to provide resources to eligible community members, ensuring they have access to transportation for their vaccination appointments. As the county, state and federal response to vaccine rollout continues, the Ride United Vaccine Access Campaign helps eligible people get the COVID-19 vaccine, even if they lack transportation. For more information, visit: www.unitedway.org/rideunited.