What to Know
Midterm elections tend to face low voter turnout, but transportation providers this year are hoping to change that.
Uber and Lyft will be offering free and discounted rides nationwide, while local Indegogo is providing Philly voters with free bike passes.
For some of our area's voters without cars, the most important question after they've decided whom they're voting for is: How am I getting to my polling place?
In more urban areas, and poorer neighborhoods, and suburban towns with older populations, this question looms large.
The two-largest ride-hailing companies, Lyft and Uber, are partnering with non-profit organizations to offer free and discounted rides for voters.
Lyft, working with When We All Vote and National Registration Day, is offering 50% off rides to polling stations across the U.S., and free rides within under-served communities through nonpartisan partners like VoteLatino and the National Federation of the Blind.
Uber is partnering with Democracy Works and #VoteTogether to provide free rides to voters in communities that they determine have transportation challenges.
Both ride-sharing services reminded their drivers and passengers about voter registration resources and deadlines, and plan to roll out app updates helping prospective voters find their polling stations on Election Day.
Local organizations are hoping to increase Philadelphians’ participation in midterm elections as well, with initiatives like Indego’s "Pedal to the Polls."
“We are proud to ensure that everyone has an affordable way to get to, or near, their polling place,” the bike share program said on its Facebook page.
On Nov. 5-6, bike-riding voters can redeem a free day pass, which is typically $10, by using the promo code RIDE2VOTE.
Not everyone thinks reducing travel costs will mobilize voting citizens.
An online petition asking SEPTA to offer free rides on Election Day, launched by the urbanist group 5th Square, gathered over 500 signatures in its first few days but was rejected by the transport authority.
The chair of the Philadelphia City Commissioners told WHYY that she appreciates the sentiment, but "doesn’t really think SEPTA is the answer."
"Although it sounds like a good idea, I don’t think it is," SEPTA assistant manager Fran Kelly also told WHYY.