Lyft car on a rainy road

Lyft to offer free rides during US midterm elections

Image credit: Dreamstime

Ride-hailing service Lyft has announced that it will be providing half-price and free rides during the upcoming US mid-term elections in order to mobilise voters without access to transport.

According to the Pew Research Centre, those who do not vote in elections tend to belong to low-income groups, which also have less access to transportation, making it even harder to participate.

These groups of people traditionally throw their support behind the Democratic Party, and the effort to get out to vote is supported by many high-profile figures known for their outspoken support for liberal causes. A recent PSA released by campaign group When We All Vote featured former First Lady Michelle Obama, musician Lin-Manuel Miranda, actor Tom Hanks, athlete Chris Paul and other celebrities calling on eligible voters, particularly newly eligible voters, to register in time for the mid-term elections.

Now, When We All Vote – among other voter-mobilisation campaign groups – has formed a partnership with on-demand transportation company Lyft to mobilise voters – especially low-income voters – in the upcoming mid-term elections. A Lyft representative stated that the effort is entirely nonpartisan, and that the company wants to “make sure everyone’s voice is heard in this election”.

The campaign’s partnership with Lyft will offer all rides booked on the day of the elections (6 November) for half price with use of a discount code circulated by campaign groups. A Lyft spokesperson has said that 95 per cent of the US population across all 50 states will have access to the promotion. The company will also be partnering with non-partisan groups such as Voto Latino and Urban League to drive people from under-served communities to the voting booths.

It will also be helping to distribute information about voter registration among its drivers at Lyft Hubs (driver support centres), as well as on its app.

The effort has been praised and promoted by Michelle Obama, Never Again leader and Parkland shooting survivor Jaclyn Corin, as well as actors Misha Collins, Anthony Rapp and Sebastian Roché.

Lyft, a major rival to Uber, is a San Francisco-based company which enables users to hail rides from a smartphone app. In 2016, the company announced that it would be working with General Motors to begin testing of self-driving cars, and in 2017 it announced a similar partnership with Alphabet’s Waymo.

Lyft’s voter drive is its latest effort to engage with socially conscious causes; in March it provided free transport to some students to engage with the anti-gun violence March for Our Lives rally, and in May it pledged to provide free transport to disadvantaged communities struggling to access important appointments.

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