Ride sharing services want to help get you vaccinated.
Lyft and Uber have been in communication with the Biden administration to figure out their role in the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plans, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The companies have reportedly asked for early access to vaccines for drivers, who are deemed essential workers.
In return, they are offering “free rides” to vaccination centers and appointments.
"What we want to speak with them about is that there are existing vehicles that the Biden administration will have to ensure that people that need it can get to their vaccine appointments," Lyft’s vice president of healthcare, Megan Callahan, told CBS News.
Lyft executives and the Biden administration first engaged in talks in December. Around this time, Lyft began offering roughly 60 million free and discounted rides to and from vaccine sites, which is enough to cover the roughly 16 million Amercians that it estimates don’t have reliable transportation. Callahan said the program will continue as long as necessary.
This is supported by data from the American Public Transportation Association, which says that 45% of Americans do not have access to public transportation.
John Zimmer, Lyft’s co-founder and president, told NBC News that there’s a “major problem” with access to reliable transportation.
“The economy can’t start moving and individuals can't start getting vaccinated until someone starts to step up,” he added.
Uber, on the other hand, has offered 10 million free rides to the rollout effort and is exploring additional partnerships with government and health care providers. The company also wants early vaccinations for drivers.
“Transportation should never be a barrier to getting the Covid-19 vaccine,” Julia Paige, head of social impact at Uber, said. “To end the pandemic, it will take a coordinated global effort and all of us can play a role.”
"We also believe that we can use our technology and reach to remove transportation barriers faced by individuals who will need to travel to their vaccination appointments, especially those in higher-risk groups and in communities of color," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote in a letter to President-elect Joe Biden, which was obtained by CBS News.
Under its Uber Health Initiative, the company has delivered flu vaccination kits to nurses and is exploring possible partnerships to do the same with the vaccination effort.