DC offers some essential health care workers discounted rides

D.C. wants some of its essential health care workers at two hospitals to have a way to get home and to their jobs during the public health emergency.

Essential health care workers at Howard University Hospital and United Medical Center could be eligible for a service that would cost them a $3 flat-rate fare for rides to and from their work and homes between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m.

The Department of For-Hire Vehicles, or DFHV, and partners Via and Transco have repurposed D.C. Neighborhood Connect, a service that typically serves Wards 4, 5 and 8. The service zone has been expanded to cover all of D.C. and parts of Prince George’s and Montgomery counties in Maryland.

Many transit agencies in the D.C. area have cut back or ceased certain routes, leaving many workers with limited public transportation options.

“We fully support Mayor Bowser’s actions to provide safety guidelines that enable critical transportation for those dedicated individuals doing essential work,” David Do, DFHV director, said in a news release.

The on-demand rides work through the D.C. Neighborhood Connect app. Using a code provided by their hospitals, health care workers can hail one of 11 high-capacity vehicles, which can hold a maximum of three health care workers per vehicle to ensure social distancing.

“Our partnership with DFHV to repurpose the D.C. Neighborhood Connect service demonstrates how technology-enabled solutions can swiftly step in to utilize existing infrastructure to provide safe, reliable, and efficient mobility services for essential workers, while complementing existing public transit systems,” Daniel Ramot, Via CEO and co-founder, said in a statement.

Riders should note that an executive order by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser requires the use of face masks when using taxis, ride shares and private transportation providers.

Those providing transportation must wear gloves and masks as well.


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