Lyft is expanding its Voting Access Program to help more Americans get to the polls on Election Day. Lyft Chief Policy Officer Anthony Foxx joins the On the Move panel to discuss.
JULIE HYMAN: Back to On the Move. As voting day approaches, more and more companies are pitching in on get out the vote campaigns. One of them is Lyft, which is expanding its voting access program, which already offers free and discounted rides to polling locations. Joining us now to talk about this is Anthony Fox. He is Lyft's chief policy officer. He's joining us from Bethesda, Maryland.
Anthony, thank you for joining us. So as I mentioned, this is an expansion of an existing program. I'm curious what the take up has been in past election cycles. How many people took advantage of getting these rides to the polls?
ANTHONY FOX: We've had thousands of people across the country take advantage in past years. And it's this an extension of what we believe as a company and a corporate citizen to help people exercise their rights as Americans to participate in our democracy. So we're proud to do this once again in the 2020 election cycle.
ADAM SHAPIRO: Do you have any data you can share with us regarding where this might be in play most? For instance, I'm thinking Texas. And this is just off the top of my head. But because they've limited now to just one drop-off point for a mail in ballot in each county. You've got people coming from miles away to possibly do it. But do you see a trend anywhere in any particular market you serve?
ANTHONY FOX: Well, it's still a little early for us. Because some states have started early voting. Some states have yet to start that. And of course, it's even more complicated this year because of the COVID-19 situation. But I would expect that those areas that have, you know, robust, dense populations, some of the areas you mentioned, around places in Texas, in particular, Austin, and Houston, and Dallas, and those places, not only in the southwest, but in some of our highly-populated parts of the Southwest as well as the Midwest. And we're going to see, I think, unprecedented voter turnout. And our job is just to be ready and to provide the support that a platform like ours can provide.
- Antony, this election year is particularly important for your home state-- for Lyft's home state, rather, in California. As I understand it, you know, prop 22 is on the ballot. And that would create that third category outside of the AD 5 law that was passed in California. What sort of the conversations you're having with drivers, with passengers? What's your sense here? Give us a pulse check.
ANTHONY FOX: Yeah, you know, look, it's a challenging time for drivers, both because people are using transportation services less across the board, not just in ride share, but airlines, and everything else. And they recognize that this situation in California is potentially an existential threat to many of them in terms of their ability to do the kind of flexible work that many of them like to do.
We know that drivers, four to one, support their flexibility and their independence and want that. We are aligned with them in that. And we also believe that the independence and the flexibility can be done with an additional array of safety net and benefits that support the drivers. And so it's independence plus benefits. And I think that formulation is resonating well with drivers, and hopefully, will resonate well with the voters in California.
- And Anthony, of course, you were the secretary of transportation under President Obama, as well as the former mayor of Charlotte. When you think about your expertise in the public office, in the public sector, wondering if you've been having conversations with Vice President Biden's campaign? Do you have any intention, perhaps, to go back into the administration if he does get elected?
ANTHONY FOX: Well, we're 29 days away from the country deciding who will be the next president. And certainly don't want to prejudge things there. But, you know, I believe-- you know, and I've said this on the record-- that Joe Biden is a friend. And I have worked with him very closely and support him. Having said that, you know, I offer advice when I'm asked for it for that. And I have provided some of that over the last several months, mostly on large-picture infrastructure issues. So we'll continue to do that as I'm called upon.
JULIE HYMAN: Anthony, thank you very much for your time. Really appreciate it. Anthony Fox is Lyft's chief policy officer. Appreciate it.