City of Augusta works to prevent work transportation barriers

Published: Nov. 2, 2023 at 6:32 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Having a car to get to work is something a lot of us take for granted, but not everyone has that luxury.

In 2021, United Way partnered with Lyft to fight the labor shortage. This year they’ve booked more than 2,600 rides to get people to work.

The city of Augusta just announced a partnership with the Biden Administration to keep it running.

You may know him as the Wavy Man, but behind this wave is a story.

“I was homeless here for like two years,” said Napoleon Samuels, a community member.

Samuels’ life was a struggle before he met God.

“I was going through hard times, doing drugs, alcohol,” he said.

On top of that, he didn’t have a ride to work.

“I didn’t have that opportunity. You have to try to reach out to help yourself. No one’s just gonna help, you have to help yourself. And if the opportunity is there, you should reach out and grab it,” said Samuels.

Brittany Burnett with United Way of the CSRA says most of the calls they get are for rides.

“So many people in our community are wanting to get to work. But you know, having a vehicle is something we can all take for granted,” she said.

And without adequate public transportation, the options are limited.

They are making the opportunity to get to work a lot easier with Ride United.

So, how does it work? You dial 211 and tell them where you need to get to work. They will text you a code. You enter it on the Lyft app, get in the car, and go. No charge.

“What we’re finding is many of these folks that need rides are going to places that many of us frequent. And really, they’re critical services that keep our community afloat. They’re going to work at a hospital, they’re going to work at a manufacturing plant,” said Burnett.

The need is only growing.

“So far, this year, up through the beginning of October, we’ve booked over 2,600 rides for those residents. So we’re seeing a huge increase in the need,” she said.

Within the first three days of launching, they have booked 200 rides, allowing them to continue the mission.

“Sometimes people just literally need a little band-aid for a little while. And if this is the small band-aid that gets their wound to heal, then they can move on to something better and bigger after that, then this is filling that gap literally,” she said.

The program runs through the end of 2023.