Lyft Makes Transportation Easier By Offering Free Rides For Underserved Communities

The rideshare company announces a new program that will eliminate transportation as a barrier to potential success.

Rideshare companies have become a necessary part of our transportation options. However, there are many communities of people across America who either can’t afford it daily or who still don’t have access to consistent transportation for a myriad of essential tasks like getting to work or going grocery shopping.

Lyft wants to change that and is announcing the LyftUp Access Alliance, which will specifically target underserved communities of color.

In January, Lyft partnered with LeBron James and launched LyftUp to provide thousands of young people a free one-year bikeshare membership. Now, they’re doing the same with vehicular transportation, particularly for low-income, inner city communities who need rides to job interviews, doctors appointments and to go vote.


“If you’ve ever faced a lack of access to transportation, you know how debilitating it can be. Transportation is key to having basic needs met – feeding your family, getting to work, obtaining a job, medical care, education and even voting,” said Anthony Foxx, Chief Policy Officer at Lyft and Former United States Transportation Secretary under President Obama, during a conference call on Monday, August 10. “Under-resourced Black communities have disproportionately low access [to transportation] caused in large part by systemic racism.”

Transportation costs can place a heavy burden on families of color, and for those who are struggling with poverty, it can be extremely debilitating. 

“Transportation costs are the second largest expense for most American households, taking down on average 20 cents of every dollar of income and as much as 55 cents for every dollar earned by the poorest households,” said Lyft co-founder and president John Zimmer during the call. “In large metro areas, Black Americans typically have longer commutes and Black households in America are more than three times as likely to not own a car.”

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According to a details released by Lyft, the LyftUp Access Alliance will partner with “impact-driven organizations” to “eliminate transportation as a barrier to upward mobility.” Among the founding members of the alliance are the National Urban League, NAACP, the National Action Network, My Brother’s Keeper, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce.

“Together, we will provide access to 1.5 million rides to help under-resourced Black communities reach a powerful network of essential resources and services that’ll help meet the challenges we face in this moment of crisis, and to ensure that we all emerge stronger and more empowered on the other side,” the release reads. “As part of that commitment, all LyftUp Community Grants for the remainder of 2020 will go toward local organizations directly supporting communities of color.”

Valerie Jarrett, a Lyft Board Member and former Senior Advisor to President Obama, said on the conference call that the new alliance will be more than just offering rides to-and-from places.

“The LyftUp Access Alliance and its partners will focus on providing the Black community with the means of mobility to overcome the barriers and challenges they face world,” she said. “That means we will offer resources, training, support, learning skills and the mobility will provide transportation, connections, security reliability and independence.” 

Local nonprofits and community organizations will also be eligible for funds from the LyftUp Community Grant. To apply, click here.

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