Uber and Lyft Offer Discounted Election Day Rides to Polls

Uber and its rival Lyft are offering users discounted fares for rides to and from polling booths.
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Uber  (UBER) - Get Report and Lyft  (LYFT) - Get Report will both offer cheaper rides to and from polling booths to address gaps in transportation needs on Election Day, the companies said on Tuesday.

On Nov. 3, Lyft said it would offer a 50% discount for a one-way ride worth up to $10 to any polling booth or ballot dropbox.

Lyft also will work with nonprofit groups, including the Black Women’s Roundtable, the National Federation of the Blind and the Student Veterans of America, to offer free and discounted rides to underserved communities, the company added.

"By providing access to free and discounted rides to arena voting sites in Atlanta, Charlotte, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Orlando, Lyft is making it easier for voters in key population centers to safely exercise their right to vote this fall," said Executive Vice President of Public Affairs Michael Tyler at More Than a Vote in a statement on the company blog. 

More Than a Vote is a campaign led by National Basketball Association star LeBron James to address poll-worker shortages and encourage voting in black electoral districts.

Earlier on Tuesday, rival Uber said it would help people find their polling locations through its app and offer discounted rides to and from the polls. The company did not mention further details on the pricing of rides.

Uber will also offer in-app voter registration and requests for absentee ballots in partnership with independent voter registration platform, TurboVote, to help everyone who uses Uber and Uber Eats to register to vote or request a vote-by-mail ballot.

In the April to June quarter the number of active users of Uber’s services fell by 44% to 55 million.

Lyft said it had 8.7 million active riders in the three months ended June 30, compared with 21.8 million in the year-earlier quarter and 21.2 million in the previous quarter. 

Uber’s chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, said the company wants to make sure American citizens have the opportunity to vote. "We hope this will help people have a stronger voice in our democracy," he said in a company blog post.

Uber is one of a number of companies to offer their employees time off on Election Day, Nov. 3. These include Facebook  (FB) - Get Report, Apple  (AAPL) - Get Report and Twitter.  (TWTR) - Get Report

Yesterday Bloomberg reported that Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba  (BABA) - Get Report was considering investing as much as $3 billion into Southeast Asian ride-hailing giant Grab.

As part of the potential deal, Alibaba would scoop up $3 billion of stock currently owned by Uber, which first invested in Grab in 2018.

Last week Uber said it planned to spend $800 million over the next five years to help its drivers switch to battery-operated electric cars as the San Francisco ride-hailing and food-delivery service aims to become carbon-free by 2040.

And last month a judge in California ordered Uber and Lyft to reclassify their drivers as employees instead of contractors. As contractors, the drivers don't receive benefits that employees get. The companies argue that their drivers prefer the flexibility that comes with contract work.

At last check after hours, Uber stock was up 0.2%. It closed the regular session at $37.47, a drop of 1.3%. Shares of Lyft were down 0.5% at last check after hours. They closed the regular session at $30.23, a drop of 5.4%.