November 8, 2019
Both Uber and Lyft partner with nonprofits to offer ride credits designed to address transportation barriers that can limit job seekers’ access to employment.
Uber’s Community Impact Initiative combines ride credits and cash grants to cover administrative costs in a dozen US and Canadian cities. Lyft’s Jobs Access Program offers free or discounted rides in some 40 cities through local grantmaking and national partnerships with Goodwill and United Way, among other organizations.
Alliance member Juma Ventures has partnered with Uber since 2018 to distribute $20,000 per year in ride credits to its workers in Seattle, and has won a grant to expand this benefit to its San Francisco operation in 2020.
Chief Impact Officer Mason Moore explains that Uber offers optional ways to receive the credits and has provided great tech support and flexibility to make changes when needed.
Juma initially gave each worker an Uber allowance to use directly, but ran into issues when individuals lacked the technology to use the app, couldn’t attach a debit or credit card to the account in case they exceeded the allowance, or abused the credits for personal use. Instead, Juma now uses the credits to augment bus and light rail passes to reduce workers’ commute times.
In Seattle, where most of Juma’s workers live 45 minutes to an hour from worksites in the City center, taking an Uber to the nearest light rail station instead of connecting by bus can reduce one’s commute by 20 minutes each way. Uber rides also help people get home from late night shifts that end after public transportation services have shut down.
Several Juma staff are authorized to grant credits, including Site Managers that work major league sporting events where most workers are assigned. Juma notifies workers how to request a ride and who to contact through its scheduling software When I Work.
Juma also uses the ride credits to help individuals attend program-related trainings such as financial literacy workshops.
Lyft targets its ride credits to help people access job training, job interviews and rides to and from work in the first three weeks of a new job.