California Joins 44 Other States in the Effort

While we’ve all seen the images on the news of long lines of vehicles queued up at convention center and stadium parking lots, it shouldn’t be necessary to own a car or drive to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Now the VaxTransit campaign offers free bus or train rides to vaccination sites via local agencies.

Advocacy efforts

A former senior executive in Silicon Valley and Wall Street, Stewart Mader began working with transit providers, public officials, and policymakers to build better transit that supports healthy, equitable, and resilient communities. He launched VaxTransit in early January 2021, knowing of only 15 transit agencies in the U.S. that were providing free vaccine rides.

His efforts to reach out and coordinate public transit and vaccination centers has led to the involvement of more than 450 agencies across 45 states that now shuttle citizens to get their shot in the arm.

Authorities also offer more than just a ticket to ride. When the pandemic hit and ridership declined, many transit agencies not only began seeing emptier busses and train cars, but transit stations as well. In Covina, for example, Foothill Transit’s new $24 million, three-level bus depot and park-and-ride garage was not getting much use. The transit agency worked with the city and a local grocery chain to turn the ground floor of the parking garage into an open-air COVID-19 vaccination site.

Catch a ride in California

Mader sees these free rides as an investment in the future. “The faster we get people vaccinated, the faster we can get back to normal,” he says.

The following local transit agencies are part of VaxTransit. Click the link to get more information on how to catch your free ride in your community:

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