The Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (The COMET) is partnering with rideshare programs, Uber and Lyft, and the United Way of the Midlands to provide access to rides to and from COVID-19 vaccination appointments in Richland and Lexington Counties as part of its Don’t Miss Your Shot campaign.
“The main role of transportation is providing access to services, resources and essential destinations. We are focused on offering more ways that Midlands residents can access transportation to COVID-19 vaccine appointments by working with Uber, Lyft and the United Way through its Ride United initiative,” added Derrick Huggins, The COMET Board Chair.
“For many people in communities across the Midlands, transportation is a constant barrier to getting to their doctor’s visits, grocery stores, and other appointments. This barrier was made even more complex by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the populations most in need of the vaccine are unable to get to their vaccine appointment,” said LeRoy DesChamps, Interim Executive Director of The COMET. “We are ensuring that through The COMET, transportation is not a barrier to the COVID-19 vaccine in Richland and Lexington Counties and we are excited to work with Uber, Lyft and the United Way of the Midlands to facilitate this partnership.”
Nationally, Uber has pledged to provide up to 10 million free or discounted rides to help people get vaccinated, particularly “communities of color that have been disproportionately hurt by the pandemic,” as the company said in December.
“We’re proud to support transit agencies like COMET as they continue to facilitate vaccinations and positive health outcomes by leveraging Uber’s on-demand platform,” – Cody Lowe, Customer Success Manager at Uber.
Also in December 2020, Lyft announced its commitment to help provide access to rides to and from vaccine appointments alongside coalition partners, including United Way. Utilizing the Lyft network, United Way of the Midlands and 211 teams can provide resources to eligible community members, helping to ensure they have access to transportation for their vaccination appointments. As the county, state and federal response to vaccine rollout continues, the Ride United Vaccine Access Campaign helps eligible people get the COVID-19 vaccine, even if they lack transportation.
“United Way of the Midlands is pleased to partner with COMET, Uber and Lyft to ensure the Midlands’ residents are able to get the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Sara Fawcett, United Way of the Midlands President and CEO. “This partnership will reduce transportation barriers that many residents of the Midlands face on a daily basis. Access to the vaccine is just one more step towards helping our community win the battle against COVID-19.”
“Access to reliable transportation represents a major barrier to care for millions of Americans across the country, especially for vulnerable communities,” said Joan Hanawi, Lyft Social Impact. “The strength of all of our partners, including The COMET and United Way of the Midlands, combined with our ability to address transportation barriers enables us to support equitable vaccine access for those who need it most.”
Participants can get access to up to four free rides (up to $15 each trip) to and from vaccination appointments. Any amount over $15 will be automatically charged to the user’s debit or credit card on file with the user’s Uber or Lyft account.
To receive a voucher to book COVID-19 vaccine trips through Uber: http://t.uber.com/dontmissyourshot
To receive access to a voucher to book COVID vaccine trips through Lyft:
Enter COMETVAX1 (for first shot) on the Lyft app.
Enter COMETVAX2 (for second shot) on the Lyft app.
This promotion runs through September 30, 2021 or while funding lasts.
The COMET also provides free vaccine transportation to Midlands area residents who are 65 years and older or disabled by calling DART at 803.255.7123. Visit www.COMETCovidHelp.org for more vaccine transportation information.