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(Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc, PayPal Holdings Inc and Walgreens Inc on Monday said they launched an $11 million fund to provide free ride-hail trips to U.S. COVID-19 vaccination sites for people who lack access to transportation.
The Vaccine Access Fund will be managed by U.S. non-profit Local Initiatives Support Corporation, which will identify communities that need free rides as well as local partners to help with the program, the companies added.
Consumers can support the effort by donating to the fund through PayPal or in the Uber app, they said, adding they were also looking forward to welcoming other corporate donors.
In a joint letter to U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, the companies said their cooperation came in response to calls by the administration for companies to get involved in the pandemic response.
“The Vaccine Access Fund will draw on the innovative tools developed by our respective firms to expand vaccine access and build upon the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts,” the companies said in the letter seen by Reuters.
The fund is separate from Uber’s promise to provide 10 million free or discounted rides to vaccination sites globally, an effort that is both public-spirited and self-interested as it is trying to get more drivers and passengers back on the road.
Lack of transportation is a major hurdle to healthcare equity and vaccine access, and studies show fewer options for medical care in low-income and Black communities that are frequently poorly served by public transit and have lower car ownership rates.
Reporting by Tina Bellon in Austin, Texas; Editing by Himani Sarkar
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Honda Motor will end its participation as an engine supplier in the FIA Formula One World Championship at the end of the 2021 season to focus on zero-emission technology, it said on Friday.
The decision was made at the end of September and the company does not intend to return to F1, Chief Executive Takahiro Hachigo said in an online news conference.
“This is not a result of the coronavirus pandemic but because of our longer-term carbon-free goal,” he said.
Like other automakers, Honda is rushing to build new-energy vehicles in an industry shift that Hachigo on Friday described as “once in a century”. That race is accelerating amid the coronavirus outbreak as carmakers review production plans to capture market share with new models including low or zero-emission vehicles.
Honda, which returned to F1 in 2015 and last year began in supplying engines to the Red Bull Racing team, said it will divert the resources it used to build F1 engines towards efforts to accelerate development of zero-emission technologies such as fuel cells and batteries.
“We understand how difficult it has been for Honda Motor Company to reach the decision. We understand and respect the reasoning behind this,” Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner said in a statement.
Honda is launching its first mass-produced all-battery car this month – the Honda e – and has announced plans for two thirds of the company’s output to be new-energy vehicles by 2030.
Domestic rival Toyota Motor Corp last week said it expects annual sales of electric vehicles to reach 5.5 million in 2025, five years earlier than initially planned.
Reporting by Tim Kelly and Chris Gallagher; Editing by David Goodman
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Several opinion polls show Americans plan to avoid trains and buses as stay-at-home orders ease, with some city dwellers buying a car for the first time. A potential boon to coronavirus-battered automakers, the shift poses a challenge to city planners end environmental goals.
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