Uber and Lyft help citizens travel to the polls

This past Election Day, November 6, Uber and Lyft reduced pricing on transportation to voting locations.  The two companies offered cheaper transportation in hopes of encouraging adults to exercise their right to vote.  Along with these nation-wide initiatives to promote voting, senior Grace Thompson, a student of the Upper School Constitutional Law class, has been actively encouraging her classmates and faculty to vote during the mid-term election at Upper School morning meetings. 
Grace emphasized the importance of voting to her fellow peers and circulated a link to all Upper School students who would be 18 by November 6 to register to vote.

“Ultimately, our generation is the one that will have to face the effects of what our current government is doing.  We need to be the generation that finally puts an end to bipartisan fighting and the polarization of such basic humane issues,” Grace said.  “We need to vote officials into office that are going to act.  With the effects of these official’s decisions falling onto our heads, those who can vote need to get out to the polls and stand up for themselves and their beliefs.”

The United States citizens have the right to voice their opinion on how the country governs itself; citizens exercise this right by voting.  However, a common hindrance to voting is transportation.  Nearly 500,000 people who did not vote in the 2016 presidential election cited “transportation problems” as the reason, according to census.gov.  

This is an “I voted” sticker given at the polls during the Election

This past August, Uber and Lyft decided to work to eliminate the inconvenience of transportation.  The two companies partnered with vote.org and Nonprofit Vote, 501 non-profit organizations, to expand the role of America’s nonprofits in promoting active civic participation and democracy.  Both organizations helped the companies with this transportation initiative and provided customers with a promotion code for 50 percent off towards rides to polling locations, according to census.gov.

Chief Executive Officer of Uber Mr. Dara Khosrowshahi discussed how this action would benefit the company of Uber overall and explained the difference between Uber and Lyft, identifying qualities that allow a company to improve and which means of transportation are most effective.

“I think competition is always a good thing as it makes you better—but of course I think Uber is quite simply the best at what we do,” Mr. Khosrowshahi said.  “Our technology platform is transforming how people, food, and things move through cities across the globe.”

This picture is demonstrating Uber’s action of giving free rides to citizens going to voting destinations for the Midterm Elections. Courtesy of freestufffinder.com 

Grace offered her opinion on Uber’s and Lyft’s actions during the election and how important it is to vote in today’s world.

“I think the initiative that driving companies like Uber and Lyft have taken by pledging free rides to individuals on their way to the polls is really amazing,” Grace said.

Grace explained how in certain areas polling stations can be found every few blocks, but in others locations, there may be only one polling station for an area of several square miles.  This is where the issue of transportation to polls rises.  Grace believes that with free rides from platforms such as Uber and Lyft, the location of polls should become less of a hindrance for voters.
Mr. Khosrowshahi commented on how Uber is utilizing their platform for the good of society and discussed how the company is made to serve the citizens, in this case, allowing them to fulfill their civic duties.

“We are constantly looking for ways in which we can use our technology for good,” Mr. Khosrowshahi said.  “Whether it’s by removing transportation barriers for people looking to vote by giving them a free or discounted ride, or by helping those without our service (or a smartphone) by getting them to the polls, our platform can really help make a difference and allow people to make their voice heard.”

Featured Image by Jacey Heffernan ’21