Thousands of South L.A. residents to get free and discounted Uber rides to COVID-19 vaccine site at USC

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To make sure those without cars can still get vaccinated against COVID-19, the city of Los Angeles is partnering with Uber to provide thousands of free and discounted rides to bring South L.A. residents to the University of Southern California for their vaccine appointments, officials announced this week.

South L.A. residents will have access to 15,000 free Uber rides and another 20,000 rides at 50% off to get to the city’s newest vaccination site at USC, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office said in a news release.

“Equity drives every facet of our strategy to end the pandemic, but our efforts will come up short unless we shorten the distance between life-saving vaccines and our hardest-hit Angelenos,” Garcetti said in a statement.

Starting next week, a large percentage of appointments at the USC site will open up for South L.A. seniors, Garcetti’s office said. Vaccine appointments at city-operated sites can be made online or by calling 833-540-0473.

Uber is contributing about $500,000 worth of rides to those in South L.A., officials said.

The company in December committed up to 10 million free or discounted rides to help people get to their COVID-19 vaccine appointments.  

Uber had already started rolling out the initiative, partnering with Walgreens to offer rides to the pharmacy’s stores and off-site vaccine clinics in Chicago, Atlanta, Houston and El Paso.

“Transportation should never be a barrier to getting the vaccine,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement.

The new USC vaccine site, in the area of Exposition Boulevard and Figueroa Street, will have the capacity to immunize up to 5,000 people a day, making it second-largest vaccination site operated by the city.

But while vaccine supplies remain scarce, the site will only be able to give out a few thousand doses in its first week.

“Our City is determined to deliver doses to residents of South L.A. and every community — and our partnerships with both USC and Uber will enable us to get shots into the arms of thousands more Angelenos every day and move us closer to defeating COVID-19,” Garcetti said.

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