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Uber making India #SaferForEachOther by offering free rides to nearby vaccination centers

Uber making India #SaferForEachOther by offering free rides to nearby vaccination centers

Uber and Network18 are encouraging more people to avail the free rides to get vaccinated and make India #SaferForEachOther

Uber and Network18 are encouraging more people to avail the free rides to get vaccinated and make India #SaferForEachOther

Seema Kaur got out of her Uber with a nod and a smile at her driver, Ramakant. As she walked towards her door, she felt relieved to have got her COVID vaccine shot just an hour previously. After weeks of hesitation, she had done it. Two things had helped her to this point. An increased awareness that vaccines were the best defense against COVID. And being able to get to a vaccine center easily and safely due to Uber’s free vaccination rides.

Vaccine availability improved since the early days of the rollout. But the need for safe transport to the vaccination centers has emerged as a new challenge for many. “I have been living alone in Bengaluru for the last four years and I don’t own a vehicle. But during this challenging time, it was a real problem. Many friends moved back to their hometowns while others chose to stay away because of safety fears. Free rides by Uber for vaccination were truly the need of the hour. They were very easy to use and the experience put your mind at ease at once.”

There were also others who wished to be extra cautious. Sunita Dhingra, 27, living in Saket in Delhi, said, “My husband and I share our car on a day-to-day basis. But he is diabetic and hence falls into a higher risk category. Taking our common car to the vaccination center was problematic. I would worry about disinfecting the car and thinking about whether it was enough. Free vaccination rides meant that I could outsource my tension to Uber. It was a very easy journey and it was free.” Sunita availed both of her free rides and is double vaccinated now.

People are more open to stepping out as cities open up and the number of active COVID cases continues to go down. Yet, it is important to push for 100% vaccination. India’s COVID vaccination coverage has crossed 100 crore as per the latest estimates. The Indian government may soon begin vaccination for kids too.

One roadblock to ‘Mission 100%’ is the access challenge for vulnerable communities. Uber has partnered with NGOs such as HelpAge India and the Robin Hood Army to ensure that no one gets left behind. The disadvantaged elderly and other vulnerable communities have benefited from free vaccination rides. HelpAge India and the Robin Hood Army have utilized nearly 20,000 and 15,000 free rides for vaccination to date.

Support of drivers on the Uber platform has been a critical factor for success. They have stepped forward and helped Indians travel to vaccination centers. While the rides are free for those taking them, drivers get compensated for every ride. Drivers feel that they are part of a larger purpose while earning their livelihood. Ram Sumiran, Uber driver, says, “I have taken many riders to the vaccination centers. I often tell them not to believe in any myths and get vaccinated at the earliest. I am double vaccinated and feel that this is the only way forward."

Booking a free vaccination ride on the Uber app is simple. One needs to add the promo code ’10M21V’ to the Uber wallet and get a discount of up to Rs. 150 on each leg of the journey. Watch this video to know more.

This article has been written by Studio18 on behalf of  Uber. 

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first published:November 17, 2021, 13:48 IST