The initiative is part of President Joe Biden’s effort to get 70% of U.S. adults vaccinated with at least one dose by July 4. The program will run from May 24 until that goal date in order to “ensure that transportation is less of a barrier” for people seeking to get vaccinated.
“I think that’s really stepping up,” Biden said of the ride-hailing companies while speaking at a virtual meeting with several state governors.
More details about accessing the free rides are forthcoming, but the White House said it will be an easy process.
“People will be able to simply select a vaccination site near them, follow simple directions to redeem their ride, and then get a ride to take them to and from a nearby vaccination site free of charge,” the White House said. “The feature will launch in the next two weeks and run until July 4.”
There will be some limitations, however. Lyft said it would cover ride costs up to $15 each way, but “based on previous rides given to vaccination sites, we expect to cover most, if not all, of riders’ fares,” the company said. Uber did not indicate any upper limit of what it will cover.
The news comes a week after Biden laid out his July 4 goal, saying key to accomplishing that will be outreach to people who are having difficulty accessing the vaccine and people who need encouragement to be vaccinated.
“We have to make it easier and more convenient for all Americans to get vaccinated,” Biden said Tuesday.
In addition to the free rides, many cities have been offering free public transportation to vaccine appointments.
As of this week, 58% of U.S. adults have been vaccinated with one dose, and 44% are fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.