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Lyft, United Way will give you a free ride to non-urgent appointments

Ride-sharing apps have changed the way we get around. Be it for a trip to and from the airport, a short ride to an appointment, a safe return home after a fun night out or whatever, ease of use and practical pricing make for an enticing option.

There are drawbacks, though, as we are getting into a stranger’s car and trusting them to not only get us safely to our destination, but also treat us with respect. Get past that, however, and we have essentially what amounts to a ride whenever and wherever we need to go.

The ride-sharing services have changed the way people get around, and not surprisingly, businesses have begun to partner with them to take care of driving needs. The latest to come to an agreement is the United Way, which has joined forces with Lyft to help people who are in need.

Going somewhere important? Your ride will be free

Lyft in early May announced it was expanding the “Lyft Relief Rides Program,” which was set up to help the response to natural disasters and other crises. The idea behind that, according to Lyft in a blog post, was “to have a greater impact and advance our mission of improving people’s lives with the world’s best transportation.”

With that in mind, it is not surprising that they are teaming up with the United Way to further the program. By committing $1.5 million to the Relief Rides program, Lyft is broadening its focus to more than just disasters.

Now, Lyft will offer free rides to people who meet specific criteria.

What are the criteria?

The rides will be for people who seek assistance from 2-1-1 and need non-emergency medical treatment, need to get to job interviews and other employment-related requests. It will also be for veterans services in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Cleveland, Denver, Houston, Milwaukee, Nashville, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Diego and San Francisco.

In the blog post, United Way Worldwide U.S. President Mary Sellers is quoted as saying last year their 2-1-1 service received more than 250,000 transportation requests nationwide, and only 20 percent could be met with existing resources.

“By partnering with Lyft, we’re better able to meet community needs by helping individuals get the services they require,” she added.

What is 2-1-1?

At this point you may be wondering what this 2-1-1 number even is. Well, it is a free and confidential service designed to help people in the United States and in parts of Canada.

Be it emergencies and disasters, health, crisis, food, jobs, human trafficking, reentry, housing and utilities or veterans, the service is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Just dial the number and you will be connected with a live, trained professional in your area.

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