We’ve found assistance with transportation all over the United States! If you are low income and need help getting to work, doctor’s appointments and more, then you can’t afford to miss this!
It’s no surprise that so many people are searching for assistance with transportation. The Leadership Conference Education Fund found that low income people typically spend 42% of their income on transportation costs. That’s a huge burden for low income people across the United States!
You may be able to get a free car.
We have found several ways that low income people can get a free car. Personally, this is my favorite way to get assistance with transportation because it gives you a lot more freedom than some of the other options… and I know they work, because my family won one back in 2017! Here’s everything we know about legitimate free vehicle giveaways and how to replicate our success.
Many public transportation systems have low income discounts.
Bus passes, train tickets and other public transportation systems can get really expensive when you rely on them. However, many of these systems offer free or discounted services to low income residents. You will need to contact your local public transit system or Department in charge of social services for more information, because this information varies depending on where you live.
Bike share and electric scooter share programs have popped up all over the country. Users pay a certain amount of money to use this equipment and anyone can use them in the service area. It’s actually really cool – but my favorite part is that many of these providers offer low income discounts. If you live in an area with a bike share or scooter share program, check out our complete discount list.
Medicaid can help you get to doctor’s appointments.
Medicaid provides free healthcare for low income people – and Medicaid benefits include assistance with transportation to and from doctors appointments!
According to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “Federal regulations say that Medicaid beneficiaries can get rides to and from providers when necessary… Depending on your needs and your State’s rules, rides might be by taxi, car, van, public bus or a subway. You might share your ride with others. You have to call to set up your ride in advance.”
If you receive Medicaid benefits and you need help getting to an appointment, call either your caseworker or the office in charge of Medicaid in your area.
Disabled veterans can get free rides from the DAV network.
Disabled American Veterans, or DAV, offers free volunteer rides for medical or dental needs. This service is run by volunteers and cannot cover every community. However, the DAV website says that they have donated over 3,500 vehicles for this program so it does cover many areas. See if it’s available in your area at DAV.org.
Lyft offers specific transportation assistance for low income people.
A 2019 Lyft study revealed that almost half of all Lyft rides started or ended in a low income area. As a result, they have created several LyftUp programs that offer assistance with transportation in low income areas.
First, the Jobs Access program helps low income workers commute to job interviews, job training, and transportation for the first three weeks of employment. This program is available in several cities, including Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New Jersey, New York, Oakland, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tacoma, and Washington DC.
This program is offered through a partnership with Goodwill and the United Way. In order to get a free rideshare, bike or scooter ride, you will need to contact the company in advance. You cannot just book a Lyft and expect it to be free. You’ll need to apply for the LyftUp Jobs Access Program on Lyft.com.
Lyft has also offered a Grocery Access Program that appears to still be operating, but I could not confirm what areas participated. Historically, they have also provided free transportation to polling locations for elections, transportation to essential services and resources in underserved communities, and more. Visit their LyftUp Programs list for details.
TANF may offer assistance with transportation.
TANF, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, is a low income program that provides cash benefits to families who qualify. The program is designed to help families transition out of poverty. I was able to uncover multiple reports that indicated that TANF funds can be used to help low income people with transportation to and from work.
Specifically, I found several reports indicating that transportation was a key problem that TANF was designed to solve. One report reads, “In some areas, there is a mismatch between where most entry-level and service sector jobs are located and where most welfare recipients live. Two-thirds of new jobs are in the suburbs, but three of four welfare recipients live in rural areas or central cities, with few recipients owning reliable cars. Many entry-level jobs require evening or weekend hours in areas that are poorly served by existing transit routes or are not within a reasonable commute time. Even in metropolitan areas with extensive transit systems, studies have shown that less than half the entry-level jobs are accessible by transit.”
As a result, states were urged to find a way to help low income TANF participants with transportation, especially for work. If you need assistance with transportation, I strongly recommend that you contact your state agency in charge of TANF.
Local organizations may have volunteer driver programs.
Many nonprofits and charities have recognized the transportation crisis that low income people face and have created volunteer driver programs. Over the years that I’ve been running Low Income Relief, I’ve found countless senior centers, community centers, congregate meal sites and other organizations that offer transportation services for their clients, guests and community members.
However, these are all very local. You would need to call 211 or call around to organizations in your area to see if they assist with transportation.