Illinois has been on lockdown for the better part of a month as confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state climbed to more than 83,021. But for vulnerable Chicagoans, such as those grappling with domestic abuse and low-income residents, leaving home for essential goods and services can be especially challenging.
The rideshare network Lyft is trying to help ease the burden on at-risk Chicagoans with the launch of free and discounted ride programs in partnership with the City of Chicago’s Department of Human Trafficking and Food Working Group and local nonprofits La Casa Norte, My Block, My Hood, My City and Family First Inc.
“We understand that the ‘Stay at Home’ order may place an additional burden for residents who are already experiencing violence at home or in the workplace, which is why the City of Chicago is working with all of our partners to make sure those who need shelter or refuge from violence can get it when they need it. We are committed to preserving the health and wellness of all our residents, but that doesn’t just mean preventing the spread of COVID-19,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a press release.
Ride codes will be distributed to communities at the discretion of each organization. Community members that receive the ride codes will be able to enter them in the “Promos” section of the Lyft app in order to access the free and discounted rides.
Lyft has also taken action to support its driver community during the pandemic by providing funds to drivers who are diagnosed with COVID-19 or put under individual quarantine by a public health agency, providing free supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer, and referring them to other earning opportunities by delivering essential supplies to those in need in partnership with government agencies, nonprofits and healthcare organizations and private-sector companies like Amazon.
“We’re grateful to everyone who is driving with Lyft for helping make a positive impact during this immensely challenging moment,” said Elliot Darvick, Midwest Regional Director at Lyft. “We will continue to support the driver community by providing new opportunities to help them earn additional income through the Lyft app and continuously working to protect their safety.”
Lyft’s Chicago programs are funded through LyftUp – the company’s nationwide effort to expand transportation access to those who need it most. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lyft has worked with a range of public health entities, local governments, nonprofits and community organizations to create new opportunities for drivers, provide rides to those in need and help distribute essential goods.