Lyft recently announced that it would offer free electric scooter rides to the essential workers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lyft is operating scooters in several cities, although most scooter-sharing programs have been temporarily suspended in the US due to the rapid spread of the virus.
The company said that it wants to support the transportation needs of health care workers and all other essential workers on the frontlines of the health crisis. The free scooter rides by Lyft are available through April 30 and range up to 30 minutes in length.
Transit workers, health care employees, and first-responders are the principal beneficiaries. The free services are available in Santa Monica, Austin, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Denver, and San Diego.
Hospitals, transit agencies, and clinics are advised to email Lyft at [email protected]; to get enrollment information that they can distribute to their laborers.
Lyft confirmed that it is prioritizing deployment near local hospitals to serve the health care workers. The ride-hailing company is disinfecting all contact surfaces on its electric scooters. They disinfect every time they recharge, including brake levers, handlebars, throttles, and bells.
Moreover, the team acknowledged that it is disinfecting high contact surfaces on the vans that are used to transport scooters at the start of every shift.
The head of micro-mobility and transit policy at Lyft, Caroline Samponaro, said:
“Lyft scooters can play a unique role in providing essential transportation to critical workers on the frontlines against COVID-19. In a time of crisis, we know Lyft can be an essential lifeline; and we are proud to serve first-responders, transit, and healthcare providers as they serve the public.”
Lyft previously said that it would offer discounted and free bike-share passes to essential workers in at least six cities in the United States. Free and cheap scooter and bike trips are playing a crucial role. The public transportation ridership industry continues to dwindle in most cities in the wake of the current health crisis.
In most of the cities, ride-sharing is not seen as a safe alternative. Notably, there has been an increase in cycling in Chicago, Philadelphia, New York City.
Lyft’s ride-sharing business has dropped significantly as health experts advise people to avoid non-essential travel. The company’s rides business has fallen by 50% in recent weeks, according to a report by The Information.
Looking at the financial front, it is highly likely that Lyft’s revenue will be less than $150 million per month after paying the drivers. That represents a significant drop from $260 million a month in the first quarter of 2019. Uber, Lyft’s rival, has also experienced considerable losses in demand and sales.
Both Lyft and Uber have encountered heavy criticism after classifying their drivers and delivery employees as independent contractors. Recently, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sent a lengthy letter to gig companies urging them to:
“reclassify your delivery workers as employees, rather than independent contractors, and ensure they are provided a full suite of employee protections and benefits.”
For now, Lyft is playing its part with these free rides to health care workers in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.