Lyft will give select job seekers a leg-up by offering free or discounted round-trip rides for interviews and training programs.
It’ll also offer free transportation for the first three weeks of a new job, or until the first pay check goes out.
The initiative, which sees the ridesharing company partnering with the likes of Goodwill, United Way, and the National Down Syndrome Society, is part of a broader effort announced by Lyft earlier this year in which it promised to spend $50 million on improving U.S. cities through transportation infrastructure, donated transportation, and various sustainability initiatives.
The Jobs Access Program announced this week will see Lyft focusing on communities in 35 cities in the U.S. and Canada that stand to benefit most from short-term transportation support. Working with its partners, job-related rides will be offered to different types of people seeking work, including veterans, those in poverty, individuals with disabilities, and younger folks seeking their first job.
Ashley Helsing, director of government relations at the National Down Syndrome Society, spelled out the importance of the initiative regarding those with disabilities.
“There are roughly two million people living with disabilities in the United States,” Helsing said. “Of those two million, nearly 30 percent, or 560,000 people, are unable to leave their home because of transportation barriers. The ability to get around easily, especially for employment in the disability community, is crucial to the future.”
United Way’s senior vice president, Alicia Lara, insisted that “people of all ages and abilities should have an opportunity to improve their economic status through employment,” and that working with Lyft on the new initiative has the potential to produce positive results for communities across North America.
Lyft said its work in local areas can to lead to the creation of “new pathways to help people gain access to vital needs, like jobs, healthy food, or relief from natural disasters.”
Regarding natural disasters, the ridesharing company recently announced the Disaster Relief Access Program, which is designed to provide free transportation to get people to shelters following a calamitous event. It would also aim to give rides to first responders and volunteers offering help in the aftermath.
Some commentators may see Lyft’s community-based efforts as a way to ultimately attract more paying riders to its various transportation services, or even to divert attention away from criticism on how it treats its drivers, but those who benefit from its initiatives will likely have little time for such a viewpoint.