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Uber, Lyft Push Biden Team for Role in Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout

Ride-sharing companies look to carve out their place in vaccine distribution.
(Proxima Studio)
(Proxima Studio)
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Uber and Lyft are lobbying the Biden Administration to help with the Covid-19 vaccine rollout, WSJ reports.

Why It Matters: “The pandemic has weighed on ride-sharing companies as the spreading virus shut down restaurants and curbed social gatherings and travel. Ferrying people to vaccine sites could boost their business in the near term and may help kick-start a rollout that has gone more slowly than federal officials planned.”

The Low-Down:

  1. After making its case in December, Lyft is seeking federal funds for vaccine-related transportation for people who lack “health-care transportation benefits or have limited public transportation due to coronavirus.”
  2. Uber, which is already joining Moderna to provide users with vaccine-safety information aims to “work with public health agencies to help those eligible for doses to schedule rides and receive reminder notifications.”

“Biden transition officials said the team is in “listening mode” when meeting with companies to learn what they are doing, whether on Covid-19, the economy or other priorities. The incoming administration doesn’t have the authority to make decisions on federal funding or other official government matters until Mr. Biden is inaugurated.”

  • The Biden Team said Friday he will look to accelerate distribution by releasing nearly all available covid-19 vaccine doses once he takes office, instead of holding back second doses.

The Takeaway: As bad as it has gotten for ride-sharing, safety is paramount here. Both companies indefinitely suspended pooled rides and mandate driver and passenger mask-wearing. Inoculating drivers could provide a sense of safety for those who do need to travel and help give the public more confidence overall.

Justin Oh:

This is a really interesting trend to follow, as DoorDash ($DASH), Lyft ($LYFT), Uber ($UBER), and other gig delivery companies push into adjacent delivery and transportation markets. 

One market that I know $LYFT and $UBER have already been exploring is non-emergency healthcare transportation, so coordinating vaccine rides makes a lot of sense. Obtaining vaccine ride business doesn’t particularly increase my view on their value long-term, but it might provide a nice short-term revenue boost in between the pandemic and a full recovery.

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