The Ride to Vote

Earlier this month I was pretty hard on Uber and Lyft in a blog post about the deleterious effects of ride hailing on, well, everything. But credit where credit is due: this Election Day, Tue 6 Nov, both companies are helping to get voters to the polls by offering discounts on their services.

Lyft is offering half-off rides to your voting place. Just get a coupon code at Weirdly, that URL resolves to a Buzzfeed page where you can enter your zip code, apparently so that millennials won’t think voting is somehow uncool or something. Fittingly, Uber has a more complex approach which involves partner non-profit groups and selecting the cheapest ride option available—I couldn’t figure out all the rules but maybe you can at this page.

It’s not clear to me how much these companies want people to actually know about these promotions though. I haven’t seen mention of them in the Lyft app (I never use Uber) and really only became aware of this while walking around Manhattan’s Lower East Side yesterday, where I came across the billboard/installation below. It’s papered with what are meant to be representations of the millions of ballots that did not get cast in 2016 when voters simply opted our of their right to vote. It was pretty eye-catching and well done, even if it was hidden at a not particularly well trafficked corner of the city.

Lyft Billboard for Rides to the Polls