Uber to offer free transportation to shelters in storm-impacted areas

by | Aug 29, 2023

  • Uber announced free round-trip rides for evacuation purposes before Hurricane Idalia on Tuesday, catering to state-approved shelters in select Florida counties.
  • Through the app, users can access the offer using promo code “IDALIARELIEF,” which permits up to two rides per person to or from the designated shelters.
  • Hurricane Idalia’s trajectory places it on a collision course with Florida’s Big Bend region, prompting storm surge warnings and evacuation orders.

    Ridesharing platform Uber announced on Tuesday morning that it will provide free transportation to hurricane shelters in counties under evacuation orders ahead of Hurricane Idalia’s landfall.

    The company stated that it would provide free round-trip rides, with a maximum value of $35 each way, to and from state-approved evacuation shelters in preparation for the storm in Hernando, Hillsborough, Leon, Manatee, and Pinellas counties.

    To utilize the offer, according to Uber, users need to open its app, go to their account settings, access the wallet section, add the promo code “IDALIARELIEF,” and then select any of the specified evacuation shelters from the list provided on the Florida Disaster website. The discount is applicable for up to two trips per rider and must be used to or from the approved shelters.

    On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis updated a previously issued Emergency Order to include 3 more counties declared in a state of emergency, now encompassing 49 counties statewide under the rule.

    The most recent information released by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) of the National Weather Service indicates that Hurricane Idalia is swiftly gaining strength as it moves towards the Gulf Coast of Florida. As of 8:00 AM EDT today, the storm’s position is approximately 320 miles to the south-southwest of Tampa, Florida, and it is traveling in a northerly direction at a speed of 14 mph. The maximum sustained winds have escalated to 80 mph.

    According to data collected by the NOAA Hurricane Hunters, there are indications that Idalia is likely to experience rapid intensification before its landfall. Meteorologists are projecting that it will develop into a “highly hazardous major hurricane” by the time it reaches the coastal areas on Wednesday.

    Based on the current trajectory of Idalia, its landfall is projected to occur near Steinhatchee, Florida, which is located just to the south of the Big Bend Wildlife Management Area. This region is currently under a Storm Surge Warning, with an anticipation of substantial increases in water levels as the hurricane approaches. The potential storm surge heights could range from 8 to 12 feet, spanning from the Aucilla River to Chassahowitzka, Florida.

    Last September, Uber issued a similar program ahead of Hurricane Ian that provided free round-trip rides to a list of state-approved evacuation shelters.


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