In an Australian first, Uber will deliver 10,000 free rides to and from vaccination appointments for people living with disability, and their carers, through a partnership with Able Australia.
Through this pilot program, Uber will make available nationally four free rides for 2,500 people living with disability, who may also be accompanied by their carers, through 12 Australian disability service providers including Able Australia, Nextt, Mind Australia and Vision Australia (up to $20 for each trip). This will ensure participants can take a trip to and from a vaccination centre for both their first and second dose.
The recent outbreak in Victoria highlights the ongoing threat COVID poses for the community. For people with disability – the stakes are even higher. Many people with disability also have underlying medical conditions which make them even more vulnerable to COVID-19. Ensuring as many people as possible are vaccinated across the disability sector will save lives.
Uber General Manager Dom Taylor said not having access to transport shouldn’t be a barrier to vaccination.
“No single entity can end this pandemic. We are all in this together, government, not-for-profits, businesses and individuals and we want to play our part,” he said.
“We know that some people with disability are at a higher risk of COVID complications and at the same time, there are mobility challenges that people with a disability face when it comes to vaccine access. We want to play a role in helping more people with disabilities get access to the vaccine and believe that by leveraging our platform, which already helps millions of Australians get from A to B easily and at the push of a button, we can help make a difference.”
Kate MacRae, CEO of Able Australia welcomed the trips saying “We welcome this partnership with Uber.”
“It’s been clear that more needs to be done to help those living with a disability to access vaccines safely and reliably. We were thrilled when Uber came to the table to offer these trips and to make sure that cost wasn’t a barrier to accessing vaccines for thousands of Australians.
“This innovative program will not only directly benefit people with disability but those who provide them support and the community at large. It is a great example of what is possible when communities come together.”
David Moody, CEO of National Disability Services added: “We know that many people with disability are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19, and face the prospect of significant illness or worse if they get it.”
“That’s why NDS is so pleased to support Uber’s initiative to provide up to four free rides for people with disability to get to and from vaccination centres in Victoria. This is a tangible contribution to ensuring people with disability can get access to the vaccine,” he said.
Jennifer Westacott, Business Council chief executive added: “It’s great to see Uber using its considerable know-how and resources to help get vulnerable Australians vaccinated, keep people safe and fast-track our path back to normality by partnering with government.”
“Just as they have throughout the pandemic, businesses like Uber are working with the government and non-profit sector to keep people safe, build confidence and accelerate Australia’s recovery.”
Susan Thompson, who lives with disability, added: “Getting the vaccination is very important and this free rides partnership will help those living with disabilities get to and from their vaccination appointments safely in the weeks ahead.”
“Finding safe and reliable transport options, especially during COVID has been tough, so this new program with Uber and Able Australia is going to be a huge help for the community, making it much easier for us to travel to our appointments.”
Bruce Maguire, who lives with disability, added: “People with a disability often rely on point-to-point transport, like Uber. This partnership means people will be able to avoid the issue of navigating locations and transport routes they may be unfamiliar with and make getting to and from their vaccinations a less stressful experience.”
The 12 disability service providers accessing the free trips nationally are Able Australia, Ability Works, Active Australia, Central Bayside Community Health Services, GenU, Mambourin, Mind Australia, Nextt, Uniting, Vision Australia, Wallara, Yooralla.