IMPACT, Inc., the designated provider of 2-1-1 services in Southeastern Wisconsin,
and United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, are partnering with Lyft to provide limited free rides to eligible residents who meet specific criteria such as low-income individuals seeking transportation to job interviews or medical appointments; and veterans seeking resources as they transition back to civilian life.
2-1-1 is a free, confidential information and referral helpline that connects people to essential services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by phone, text and on the web. Last year, the 2-1-1 network received more than 250,000 transportation requests nationwide, and 20 percent of those could not be met with existing resources. United Way is the largest funder of the 2-1-1 system.
“IMPACT’s 2-1-1 community resource specialists talk to people with acute transportation needs every single day,” says IMPACT President & CEO, John Hyatt. “No one wants to cancel a doctor’s appointment or job interview due to lack of transportation. We are excited by the opportunity to coordinate free Lyft rides for clients of several community programs for which transportation is an issue.”
The partnership is an extension of Lyft’s Relief Rides program that provides transportation to people in crisis. The company recently committed $1.5 million over the next year for a 12-city pilot initiative and is giving each city the freedom to allocate 175 rides per month based on the needs of each local community through November.
In Milwaukee, a process has been established in which pre-authorized clinics, shelters and organizations will submit ride requests on behalf of eligible clients. Riders must not have access to their own personal transportation, nor qualify for other subsidized or free transportation services.
“Not only are rides to medical appointments, job interviews and veterans’ services some of the most frequent transportation requests of 2-1-1, but they also strongly align with ongoing work to bring communities together and help individuals maintain personal stability,” says Nicole Angresano, Vice President of Community Impact at United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County. “Lyft’s Relief Rides partnership removes a barrier which enables individuals to be healthy and productive.”
In addition to Milwaukee, free rides will be offered to qualifying individuals in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Cleveland, Denver, Houston, Nashville, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Diego, and San Francisco. Following the program’s success in these markets, Lyft and United Way will look to expand the program into more cities across the country.
“United Way is a worldwide leader in addressing the complex challenges faced by vulnerable communities,” says Lyft President John Zimmer. “Their dedication and ability to reach thousands of individuals in need through 2-1-1 makes them an ideal partner for Lyft Relief Rides. We appreciate the opportunity to join forces and expand our collective impact in local communities across the country.”Did you like this story? Subscribe to NNS today.