This past week, Uber’s less-popular sister, Lyft, once again showed its support for democracy by providing free and discounted rides for voters during the midterm elections. By doing so, Lyft solidified itself as a company that values civic duty and social activism in America… maybe even more than some of the politicians on our ballots.
Because of Lyft, voters traveling to and from the polls were given 50 percent off, while voters in “underserved communities,” where transportation isn’t easily accessible, got their rides completed comped. This is not only fucking awesome, but a great tactic in the fight against voter suppression. It’s a way to make election day as painless and accessible to everyone, which is something that we often overlook.
While several other transportation apps had similar promotions, Lyft is one of the only ones with a consistently positive social responsibility track-record. The company is known for its support of left-wing causes since the Trump administration was put in place. Which, to us, proves it’s a company we can get behind.
For instance, in January 2017, Trump passed a travel ban that forbade several middle-eastern countries, predominantly Muslim, from entering the U.S. This travel ban also called for additional screenings of refugees trying to enter the country, making it much more difficult for people in danger to find safety.
There was major backlash to Trump’s **arguably** racist travel ban, especially from ride-hailing service apps. But two days after the travel ban was put into effect, Lyft was one of the only companies to take action. It announced its plan to donate one million dollars over the next four years to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU); a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and protecting our democratic rights.
The two co-founders of Lyft, Logan Green and John Zimmer, announced this donation in a statement on the Lyft blog titled, “Defending Our Values.” The short and concise and statement explained Lyft’s donation to the ACLU. “Banning people of a particular faith or creed, race or identity, sexuality or ethnicity, from entering the U.S. is antithetical to both Lyft’s and our nation’s core values,” the statement said. Snaps for that.
If you ask us, when a famous ride sharing service takes a major political stance publicly, it’s obvious that the government is deeply effing up our core American values. It should also serve as another reminder that prejudice, discrimination and racism are morally wrong and should be condemned… even by your late-night driver. Like Lyft’s founders said, “we [should] continue to be there for each other – and together, continue proving the power of community.”
Some may say that getting involved in politics is bad business. However, Lyft made its opinion against Trump’s travel ban public, because to them it wasn’t just another policy. To them, the travel ban (which is still in place btw), facilitates and promotes a type of intolerance that should be completely unacceptable in America.
The second time Lyft took a strong public political stance was when the company gave free rides to people participating in the March for Our Lives protest across the country in 2018. Protestors fighting for gun control and reform laws were able to get rides up to $15 for free in cities where protests were taking place.
In fact, the Lyft blog even addressed its customers who were planning to protest in the March for Our Lives event. “Thank you for marching with the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School,” the statement read. “Lyft is proud to support their efforts with free rides to 50 marches around the country.”
Then came these midterm elections. Not only did Lyft provide discounted rides to voters, but it also encouraged its users to register to vote prior to election day. In another statement posted on the company’s blog, Lyft announced that it was partnering with two organizations that work to encourage voting and help citizens register to do so.
The statement also said that Lyft would be taking certain measures to ensure that Lyft employees voted. The company said it would offer “in-office voter registration for employees at our offices” and also encourage “minimal meetings for Lyft employees who plan to vote on Election Day.” Something that a lot more companies should think about doing if they truly care about the fate of this country. Now that’s social responsibility done right.