LONDON (Reuters) - Uber is offering discounted journeys to health and care workers in Britain from Wednesday, as it extends the scope of a service set up in Madrid last month to cover more than 4 million frontline workers fighting COVID-19 in over 20 countries.
The ride-hailing service said it had worked with governments and healthcare institutions around the world to set up Uber Medics to provide workers with free and discounted rides to and from hospitals, health centres and care homes.
Uber said 1.2 million National Health Service (NHS) staff and 1.3 million social care workers in Britain would receive a 25% discount on trips, funded by Uber, after linking their NHS email address to an account, or by their care home registering.
Chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said Uber was proud to play a small part in the incredible efforts of healthcare staff to protect and treat those affected by COVID-19.
“We stand ready to work with governments and healthcare providers around the world to support their efforts to tackle the pandemic,” he said on Monday.
Uber Medics was developed last month in Madrid in response to a request made by the Madrid Health Department to support healthcare workers as an essential service, Uber said.
It has since been rolled out to more than 20 countries, including France, Italy, Germany and India.
Uber said earlier this month it would provide 10 million rides and food deliveries, free of charge, to healthcare workers, seniors, and people in need globally.
In Britain, it is providing 200,000 free rides and 100,000 free meals for NHS staff.
Uber drivers will be able to opt into Uber Medic trips, the company said, offering them an opportunity to earn additional money during the lockdown. They will retain all of the fare.
Raazma, a London-based Uber driver, said he had already signed up to the NHS Volunteer Responders.
“It’s the least I can do in these challenging times, as we all need to pull together to help one another,” he added.
Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Pravin Char