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Press Release

United Way Launches Ride United to Address Transportation Gaps

August 15, 2019 (Alexandria, VA) – United Way Worldwide today announced the launch of Ride United, a transportation access initiative that will help those in need overcome transportation barriers. Ride United launches with initial support from General Motors and Lyft, and leverages the strengths of local United Ways and the 211 network to address unmet transportation needs for individuals and families.  

The first cities involved in this initiative are partnering with Lyft to provide free rides to eligible 211 clients in need of transportation for employment, health, and other needs. In the U.S., 45% of people don’t have access to public transportation, and roughly 10.5 million people don’t have access to a vehicle. 211s in more than twenty-five local markets (see below for the full list of participating cities) will be able to schedule Lyft rides for eligible clients without other transportation options.   

“Every year, the 211 network receives more than 230,000 transportation requests, and on average 25% of these can’t be met with existing resources,” explained Rachel Krausman, Senior Director, 211, United Way Worldwide. “In 2018, we partnered with Lyft in 12 cities and provided 12,000 free rides for employment, medical care, and veterans’ services to help fill this gap and saw how transformational a single ride could be. Through Ride United, more United Ways and 211s will work with their communities to close transportation gaps throughout the country.”  

In addition to the partnership with Lyft, United Ways and 211s are working with community partners and policymakers to close transportation gaps by partnering with companies that provide alternative transportation options like bikes and scooters, participating in multi-sector coalitions, and investing in mobility access services.  

“Across the United States, a lack of reliable, safe, convenient transportation hinders peoples’ abilities to get to good jobs, access healthcare, obtain healthy food, apply for public benefits and generally thrive in their communities,” said Alicia Lara, Senior Vice President, Impact, United Way Worldwide. “As United Ways make every effort to increase employment rates, improve health, and drive positive impact across the country, addressing structural barriers like transportation is critical.” 

Those interested in supporting Ride United or learning more can visit Lyft customers can also select United Way as their partner of choice for Lyft’s Round Up & Donate program, donating the difference between their total ride cost and the next whole dollar to Ride United. Individuals in need of assistance are encouraged to dial 211 to speak to a local specialist about available resources, or to visit for more contact options. 

Participating cities will include: 

  • Atlanta, GA 
  • Austin, TX 
  • Baltimore, MD 
  • Boston, MA 
  • Cleveland, OH 
  • Cincinnati, OH 
  • Denver, CO  
  • Des Moines, IA  
  • Detroit, MI  
  • Houston, TX 
  • Jacksonville, FL 
  • Louisville, KY  
  • Minneapolis, MN 
  • Omaha, NE 
  • Philadelphia, PA  
  • Pittsburgh, PA 
  • Salt Lake City, UT  
  • San Diego, CA  
  • San Francisco Bay Area, CA 
  • Springfield, MA 
  • St. Louis, MO 
  • Tacoma, WA  
  • Tallahassee, FL 
  • Tampa Bay Area, FL 
  • Ventura, CA  

About United Way 
United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. Supported by 2.9 million volunteers, 9.8 million donors worldwide and $4.7 billion raised every year, United Way is the world’s largest privately-funded nonprofit. We’re engaged in 1,800 communities across more than 40 countries and territories worldwide to create sustainable solutions to the challenges facing our communities. United Way partners include global, national and local businesses, nonprofits, government, civic and faith-based organizations, along with educators, labor leaders, health providers, senior citizens, students and more. For more information about United Way, please visit Follow us on Twitter: @UnitedWay and #LiveUnited. 

About 211 
211 is a vital service leveraged by millions of people across North America. Every day, clients contact 211 to access free and confidential crisis and emergency counseling, disaster assistance, food, health care and insurance assistance, stable housing and utilities payment assistance, employment services, veteran services and childcare and family services. Last year, the 211 network responded to over 12 million requests for assistance across the U.S. The service is available to over 94% of the U.S. population, including in Puerto Rico and Washington, DC, and is also available in most of Canada. Individuals in need or who are looking for information for someone else can call 211 from a cell phone or landline or visit for more contact options.   

If you need transportation support, dial 211 to speak with a caring call specialist to get connected to resources in your community.   

Media Contact

Southerlyn Reisig
Director of Public Relations 
Tel. 703.836.7100 ext.321