In New Orleans, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is sponsoring free 30-minute Blue Bikes rides to and from clinics, doctors’ offices, or pharmacies.
The pandemic brought a lot of issues to the forefront, chief among them the fact that those without reliable, affordable transportation are often unable to access vaccines, let alone health care. Those without access to a car are often forced to rely on unreliable public transportation to meet their essential needs, which has long led to different health outcomes. When the Covid-19 vaccine was rolled out across America, there was a low uptake in low-income, communities of color — a fact that was partially attributed to disparities in transportation access.
While talk of the pandemic and the many inequities it laid bare has largely fallen to the wayside, transportation insecurity — or the condition of lacking the necessary resources for transportation — remains an issue. Research suggests that 1 in 4 U.S. suffers from transportation insecurity, and most of them identify as Hispanic (29%) or Black (33%) and reside in urban areas (39%). In many cities, shared micromobility has the ability to alleviate transit insecurity, as long as it remains affordable.
In 2021, Lyft offered free rides to and from vaccine sites, as did some bike share systems, including Indego in Philadelphia and Blue Bikes in New Orleans. Acknowledging that vaccines require annual follow-ups, however, Blue Bikes is proud to still be offering free 30-minute rides to and from clinics, doctors’ offices, pharmacies, or people’s preferred vaccine locations. Through November 30, riders can use the code ‘VaxUpNola23’ to access their free rides, which are only possible thanks to the financial support of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for everyone to get their seasonal vaccines, and we know that for many, transportation is a challenge,” says Michael Tipton, head of community relations at Blue Cross and president of the Blue Cross Foundation. “We’re proud to partner with Blue Krewe for the third year in a row to sponsor free Blue Bikes rides for vaccine appointments. We hope this helps more people get the shots they need to protect their health as we head into the winter months.”
Most seasonal vaccines are covered at $0 or a very low cost on most health plans, including Medicare. Federal health officials have issued recent guidance for seasonal vaccines:
- Everyone six months and older should get a flu shot
- Everyone six months and older should get an updated COVID-19 vaccine that protects against the virus strains currently going around
- Adults 60 and older and pregnant people should get a new vaccine that protects against RSV
In order to help spread the word, Blue Bikes is encouraging people to show how they used the code by posting photos of their rides to vaccine appointments on social media, tagging Blue Bikes (@BlueBikesNOLA) and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana (@BCBSLA).
It’s that time of year again…We’re helping New Orleanians stay healthy by offering 2 free 30-min rides to get to and from vaccine appointments! Claim yours:
1. Download the Blue Bikes NOLA app
2. Tap your name, then tap “promo codes”
3. Enter “VaxUpNola23”, then tap “submit” pic.twitter.com/EM1Wcz7OOv
— BlueBikesNOLA (@BlueBikesNOLA) October 15, 2023
The Better Bike Share Partnership is funded by The JPB Foundation as a collaboration between the City of Philadelphia, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), and the PeopleForBikes Foundation to build equitable and replicable bike share systems. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or sign up for our weekly newsletter. Have a question or a story idea? Email email@example.com.