Uber has had a busy month in California that began with a trip to court and ends with free rides and food for residents and firefighters.
Uber offered free rides to victims displaced by the current California wildfires. Residents from at-risk cities, including Napa, Monterey, and Carmel can use the code “CAFIRE2020” to order a free Uber X or Uber XL ride to get to safety. Individuals can redeem the code twice to get to or from impacted areas. Uber is also donating free meals to firefighters and first responders through Uber Eats. The company has already provided 2,000 free meals, distributed to departments across the state. The promotion allows Uber to leverage its large platform for good, which could also help it salvage its image during a tense period for the company.
With wildfires raging in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, California has faced a tougher battle than in years past. Free rides and meal services could potentially validate Uber’s presence in the state. Uber’s promotion could also boost loyalty amongst users in and out of the state, as its charitable acts may appeal to consumers around the country. Uber began advertising the promotion on Twitter, where users were encouraged to share its post to help it reach those in need in California. The offers could help Uber increase retention rates and gain a new wave of users according to a Gartner report, namely those that have not used the app in the past but will now redeem the services to get to safety. Uber’s wildfire efforts make it the second tech giant to utilize its platform for a weather-related act recently. In August, Google updated its maps app to bring users timely and relevant information about weather emergencies, including earthquakes, hurricanes, and wildfires.
Uber’s new charitable initiative gives aid to California residents fighting wildfires in the midst of a health and economic crisis. The move could help it connect with those in need and provide support to consumers virtually and in-person.