Uber is partnering with US charity Goodwill to offer free rides to Virginians recovering from opioid addiction. Announced Friday, Goodwill, Uber and Chesterfield County officials are launching a small pilot program to help those in need, offering them free rides to treatment.
Photo: Seth Wenig
"Opioid treatment costs money. Transportation costs money. We want to eliminate any barrier to treatment for people," Sue Medeiros, a spokesperson with the county's Mental Health Support Services Department, told NBC12.
NBC reports the pilot has 10 people signed up, with four currently in the trial. Crucially, the program doesn't require a smartphone. Those operating the program estimate that as many as 10 addition people will sign up each month.
Those in the pilot simply call Goodwill, which acts as a sort of "dispatch" and sets up travel for the person. Riders have profiles with pre-approved destinations, picking them up and shuttling them to treatment, therapy sessions, pharmacies, and other necessary locations, all for free. (A state grant is funding the program.)
"There's often a very small window when the individual is open to treatment — so we have to be ready with whatever we have," Medeiros said.
There's no word yet on if Uber plans to expand the pilot, though its Uber Health product, which similarly offers rides for medical service, is already in major cities across the US.