Uber's Community Impact Initiative now covers 12 metropolitan areas in North America. The ride-hailing giant has been giving out free rides to nonprofits through the program, particularly in instances wherein the lack of transportation becomes a barrier to opportunity. The program has been operating as a pilot in Portland and Seattle over the past three years, but now it will benefit 73 nonprofit organizations across 12 cities: Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, Seattle and Portland in the US, as well as Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver in Canada.
Sarah Freed, Community Impact Initiative program manager, said in a statement:
"Too often, even in cities that have invested heavily in public transportation, there are mobility gaps when it comes to serving at-need communities. We can use our technology to help fill those gaps. In many cases, a simple, convenient ride to an important meeting or appointment makes a big difference in someone's life."
The company provides free rides to nonprofits through Uber for Business and Uber Health vehicles, which can take passengers to doctor's appointments. CII's recipients include women's shelters, domestic violence centers, cancer societies, groups for the visually impaired and YMCAs/YWCAs, among others. Uber says it donated $1.3 million in free rides and financial assistance under the program over the past three years, and it now intends to put $1.6 million more into the project.