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Uber honors Veterans Day by offering free rides to service members

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For Veterans Day, ridesharing services Uber will offer free rides to former military service members who need transportation to jobs and job interviews.

The program, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, hopes to help with one of the major problems facing veterans, particularly homeless veterans: a lack of transportation. Estimates by the National Coalition of Homeless Veterans put the number of homeless U.S. veterans at 49,000 in 2014, with 68 percent – more than 33,000 – living in areas without available transportation to reach services and employment.

According to Sarah Buhr of Tech Crunch, Uber is committing to 10,000 rides, roughly about $25,000 in profits, to five veteran organizations associated with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program. Rival service Lyft is also participating, though the company has not mentioned a specific number of rides. According to the White House blog, Uber and Lyft combined will be“donating tens of thousands of free rides.”

Beginning Wednesday, Veterans Day, Uber customers in 150 U.S. cities can give five dollars through the app by choosing the option “VET’S DAY.” They will then receive an SMS text message, of which they need to reply “yes” to complete the process.

Buhr notes that this is not the first time Uber has reached out to military service members. Last year, Uber introduced UberMILITARY, a program to help train veterans to become Uber driver/partners. The initiative has so far more brought in than 40,000 veterans to the platform.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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