Natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods can take out nearby road networks, but if they remain in use in such scenarios, Lyft says it wants to use its ridesharing service to help with relief efforts.
The company posted details of its Disaster Relief Access Program on Wednesday, with its central goal “to make transportation as easy as possible for those in need.”
Part of its City Works program that’s aimed at improving the quality of life in urban areas, Lyft’s disaster relief effort will include transporting people to shelters and other areas of refuge.
Free trips in Lyft vehicles can be requested using so-called “ride codes” that will be shared by nonprofits, local news organizations, and on Lyft’s Facebook and Instagram pages. Lyft said its updates and ride codes will also be posted on Facebook’s Crisis Response Hub.
The company added that where free rides are not available, it will “aim to keep rides affordable during times of disaster to ensure people can get to where they need to be.”
Where possible, and if called upon, Lyft says it will also give rides to first responders and volunteers dealing directly with the disaster.
Of course, it can’t place any of its drivers — or indeed those in need of help — in danger during a ride, so Lyft says that when a disaster strikes, it’ll work closely with local officials to see where it can go and precisely what it can do to assist. With disasters that can to some extent be predicted, such as hurricanes, it’ll start helping out with things like evacuations ahead of the event occurring.
Lyft said that so long as circumstances permit, it’ll use its social channels to direct people in disaster zones to other services that may be useful, such as Airbnb’s Open Homes program and Facebook’s aforementioned Crisis Response Hub.
Both of these services have already proven their worth during during calamitous events, so many people will welcome Lyft’s efforts to step up to the plate, too.
Airbnb, for example, helped to organize free accommodation for those forced to evacuate their homes in the Carolinas ahead of Hurricane Florence, and assisted again during the wildfires that hit California in the same year.
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