The White House, Uber and Lyft team up for free rides to COVID-19 vaccine sites

The program will start soon and run until July 4th.

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A sign marks a rendezvous location for Lyft and Uber users at San Diego State University in San Diego, California, U.S., May 13, 2020.      REUTERS/Mike Blake
Mike Blake / reuters

President Joe Biden has announced a partnership with Uber and Lyft to offer everyone in the US free and discounted rides to and from COVID-19 vaccination sites. The program will start in the next two weeks and run until July 4th.

The ridesharing companies will tell users that they can get a trip to and from tens of thousands of vaccine sites at no or little cost. You'll be able to pick a vaccination site that's close by and redeem free rides. The Biden administration has set out a goal to have 70 percent of the adult population receive at least one dose by Independence Day, and this partnership will certainly help.

It builds on free and discounted ride programs that Uber and Lyft have been running in recent months. Uber and Walgreens have teamed up on a few initiatives, including a Vaccine Access Fund to let people cover the cost of rides to and from vaccine locations. Last month, Uber added the option to book a vaccine appointment directly in the app. Lyft has also offered free rides to vaccine sites for people who need them, funded by corporate sponsors and private donations.

“Vaccines are our best hope to beat this pandemic and soon everyone in America will be able to take a free Uber to get their shot," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement. "We are honored to deepen our previous global commitments, and partner with the White House and Lyft to provide free rides to vaccination sites across the US."

Lyft says that by May 24th, users can claim a ride code, which covers $15 of rides each way to and from a vaccine site. It expects that'll cover the cost of most fares, if not all of them. You can use a code for rideshare, bike or scooter rides during typical pharmacy opening hours of 6PM to 8PM. You'll be able to claim a code through the Lyft app or website.

"The vaccine is the key to getting us all moving again, and we’re proud to do our part to move the country forward,” Lyft co-founder and president John Zimmer said.

The White House is ramping up some other efforts in an attempt to meet the July 4th goal. It will work with community colleges to open vaccine sites on campuses and offer more support to community, grassroots efforts to help people get vaccinated.

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