In what is surely intended as pure, bleak, late-capitalism PR/marketing, Uber and Lyft will be providing free rides to people who going to get vaccinations, the White House announced Tuesday. These companies are still very bad, but it is good that they are helping eliminate one potential excuse people have for not getting the jab.
Uber and Lyft are doing this in partnership with the Biden administration. The companies will offer the free rides until July 4, when Biden really hopes we will be at 70 percent vaccinated nationally and maybe we can throw a big party. From The Wall Street Journal:
The administration will provide data on about 80,000 vaccination sites to Lyft and Uber as part of the transportation partnership, a senior administration official said.
While the companies were already providing free or discounted rides in some circumstances, the rides will now be free to anyone in the U.S. who is going to a vaccination site to get the shot, and Lyft and Uber will promote the rides to and from tens of thousands of vaccination sites through their apps. The feature will launch in the next two weeks and run until July 4, when Mr. Biden has aimed to have enough people vaccinated to allow for safer Independence Day gatherings.
Uber and Lyft are doing all of this apparently without government money.
Uber and Lyft said they won’t be paid by the federal government to ferry riders to and from the vaccination sites. Tuesday’s arrangement could nonetheless help the companies bring back riders to their platforms, as well as encourage new users to sign up. The pandemic crushed the companies’ ride-hailing operations, and business hasn’t returned to pre-pandemic levels.
The people I know who still refuse to get the vax are less traditional anti-vaxxers and more coronavirus tough guys who think nothing could ever happen to them, or that the public health threat is overstated, or that modern medicine itself is suspect. I beg you: Don’t be one of those guys.