Tacoma, WA – Limited free Lyft rides are now available to Tacoma residents in need. By calling United Way of Pierce County’s South Sound 211 program, eligible residents can now get connected to reliable transportation through Lyft for non-emergency healthcare appointments, employment needs and accessing public benefits.
United Way of Pierce County and its 211 program were among a small nationwide group selected by Lyft and United Way Worldwide to participate in the Ride United program.
In Pierce County, the mean travel time to work, according to U.S. Census Bureau Data, is nearly 30 minutes and 12 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. According to Penni Belcher, Director of South Sound 211, “The heart of the issue is access to reliable transportation and what that looks like to different populations. For the past two years, we’ve deployed a transportation navigator to help address structural barriers. This partnership with Lyft will provide a convenient way for our clients to get to critical appointments.”
In the U.S., 45 percent of people don’t have access to public transportation and roughly, 10.5 million people don’t have access to a vehicle. 211 operates in more than 25 local markets* and will be able to schedule Lyft rides for eligible clients without other transportation options.
Rachel Krausman, Senior Director, 211, United Way Worldwide, offered background, “In 2018, we partnered with Lyft in 12 cities and provided 12,000 free rides for employment, medical care, and veterans’ services to help fill this gap and saw how transformational a single ride could be. Through Ride United, more United Ways and 211s will work with their communities to close transportation gaps throughout the country.”
Nationally, the 2-1-1 network receives more than 230,000 transportation requests every year, and on average 25 percent of these can’t be met with existing resources. South Sound 211 serves Pierce, Thurston and Lewis Counties and last year alone, nearly 90,000 contacts were connected to vital services.
Those interested in supporting Ride United or learning more can visit uwpc.org. Lyft customers can also select United Way as their partner of choice for Lyft’s Round Up & Donate program, donating the difference between their total ride cost and the next whole dollar to Ride United. Individuals in need of assistance are encouraged to dial 211 to speak to a local specialist about available resources, or to visit www.uwpc.org/get-help-now for more options.
*Participating Ride United cities will include: Atlanta, GA, Austin, TX, Baltimore, MD, Boston, MA, Cincinnati, OH, Denver, CO, Des Moines, IA, Detroit, MI, Houston, TX, Louisville, KY, Minneapolis, MN, Omaha, NE, Philadelphia, PA, Pittsburgh, PA, Salt Lake City, UT, San Diego, CA, San Francisco Bay Area, CA, Springfield, MA, St. Louis, MO, Tacoma, WA Tallahassee, FL, Tampa Bay Area, FL and Ventura, CA.