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Need a ride to your vax appointment?

Based on the success of a unique partnership between TriHealth and United Way of Greater Cincinnati called Ride United, six healthcare systems have come together with United Way to sponsor a transportation program using the ridesharing platform Lyft to support free rides to vaccine appointments for community residents.
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The Purpose

Throughout the months of April and May, our community vaccination strategy is focusing on key Get Out the Vax tactics to increase the number of vaccinated community members.  Recognizing that transportation to appointments will be a challenge for many community members, this program will provide free rides through Lyft by distributing codes for round trip rides to appointments.  We have initially secured 1,000 codes for distribution.

 

Target Audience

There are currently available transportation options through SORTA, Council on Aging, and Cancer Justice Network.  Specifically, free bus fare is available to community members who can easily access bus lines from their home and who are attending a vaccine appointment on or near a bus line.

COA has been providing free transportation to vaccines for seniors.  This is a strong solution as the drivers are available to provide assistance to seniors with mobility issues and will wait during the vaccine appointment.

The Lyft code distribution will specifically focus on those community members who do not qualify for senior rides through COA and who will not have convenient access to bus transportation.

Importantly, this solution will focus on community members who have the technological capability to access the Lyft app and use the free code to request a ride – minimal instructions and guidance will be provided by United Way and distribution partners.

 

Accessing Rides

United Way of Greater Cincinnati accessed the ride codes through a national partnership with Lyft.  Based on the conditions of that partnership, minimal data must be collected and reported to United Way Worldwide and Lyft.  To ensure that this data is collected and that codes are properly distributed, all codes will be directly distributed by United Way 211 and a select distribution partners.

We are currently recruiting and training partners for distribution including Easterseals, Urban League, and Sterling (one of the equity-focused vaccine sites).

Any community member can call United Way 211 to access transportation solutions.  United Way’s 211 call specialists will:

  • Determine the community member has a confirmed vaccine appointment
  • Ensure that the member has an unmet transportation need (and refer to COA or SORTA, if appropriate)
  • Assess whether the community member has the ability to use the Lyft ridesharing platform
  • Distribute a single use round trip code to be used the day of appointment

The distribution partners will proactively reach out to community members and clients to distribute codes when they know of transportation barriers to vaccine appointments.

 

Hospital Systems Connecting Patients with Rides

Hospital systems who identify patients with transportation needs can ask those patients to call 2-1-1 (or call on their behalf) and United Way will connect them with a ride code.

In addition, if any of the hospital systems have a preferred distribution partner, they can send that information to Deirdre Beluan at United Way – Deirdre.beluean@uwgc.org or 513-762-7245 - and United Way will reach out to train the partner on code distribution.