Uber, Lyft offer free and discounted rides for election day
By Danny Parisi
November 8, 2016
Uber is helping consumers find their polling place and giving them free rides there
With the polls now open, ride-sharing applications such as Uber and Lyft are working to get as many voters to the polls as possible to promote civic responsibility and to drum up business.
Uber is partnering with Google to help voters find their polling places and request a discounted ride, all straight through the Uber mobile application. Lyft is offering a big blanket discount today to all of its customers, encouraging them to get out and vote whenever and wherever they can.
"Given the important decision people around the country will make on November 8th, we wanted to make getting to and from your polling place easier than ever," said Niki Christoff, head of federal affairs at Uber. "Teaming up with Google, Uber is excited to help make that trip as convenient and stress free as possible."
With election day finally here, it is time for citizens around the country to finally turn up to their polling place and exercise their civic duty.
But voting is not always the simplest task. For some people, getting to their polling place quickly and timely, particularly if they do not have cars or work long hours.
This is why there are initiatives providing buses or other services to help voters get to their polling places.
Memebers of the ride-sharing community such as Uber and Lyft are also getting in on this action, both as a way of helping voters get to their polling places on time, and to create loyal customers.
Uber is working with Google to bring a new times feature to its app pertaining to the election. Any user who opens up their Uber app today will see a notification reminding them that it is election day.
Users can then tap a button to add their address, which Google will then use to calculate their polling place. With just a single additional tap, users can instantly request a ride to their polling place.
Additionally, to ease the burden of getting to the polling place, Uber is offering a 20 dollar discount enough to cover most medium-length rides for users who use the promo code VOTETODAY for new customers.
In this way, Uber is attracting non-Uber users who might not normally use ride-sharing services but who need it to get to their polling place. Once they have installed the app and taken their free or heavily discounted ride, depending on the price, they have gotten past the hurdle of downloading the Uber app and can more easily be converted into returning customers.
Lyft is taking a similar approach, though with a much broader bent.
The ride-sharing service is offering a blanket 45 percent discount on one ride for the day. This ride does not necessarily have to be taken to a polling place, but that is the stated intention of the promotion.
While the percentage discount can be used by any Lyft users and is not restricted to new users, the 45 percent discount will most likely work out to less of a discount than Uber's 20 dollars off. Lyft also is not offering any in-app assistance in finding one's polling place.
Lyft is taking a more conservative approach to an election-day campaign, and time will tell which of the two approaches to offering discounted election-day rides