Uber offers free rides to and from hurricane shelters in Hurricane Idalia’s aftermath
Tropical Storm Idalia. Image via AP.

Tropical Storm Idalia
Uber expanded the number of eligible areas as the hardest-hit areas became more apparent.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia’s hit on the state, Uber expanded its offer of a free ride to and from a state-approved hurricane shelter to 29 counties.

Residents of Hernando, Hillsborough, Leon, Manatee and Pinellas counties were the first to become eligible for round-trip rides worth up to $35 each way to and from a state-approved evacuation shelter, via rides hailed through the Uber app.

Now the offer that could smooth the way back to normal for those that were in Idalia’s crosshairs also includes residents in Alachua, Citrus, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Jefferson, Lake, Liberty, Marion, Nassau, Orange, Pasco, Polk, Putnam, St. Johns, Sarasota, Sumter, Union and Volusia counties to the storm special.

Uber spokesman Giovanni Castro said the company has been working with local officials to determine the hardest-hit areas where Uber could assist.

Uber is among a few companies who were offering a boost to Floridians facing stressful times as nature bore down. Hurricane Idalia came ashore as a Category 3 storm Wednesday. In some places, such as Dixie County, the reopening of county schools has not been announced.

Orlando-based Rosen Hotels & Resorts reduced their rates ahead of Idalia and said they would extend the offer as long as necessary to those displaced after the storm.

“This is an unexpected expense, not a staycation,” said Jennifer Rice-Palmer, director of guest contact. “People should be able to leave their homes and know they can depend on Rosen Hotels & Resorts to do its part to keep them and their pets as safe as possible.”

Distress rates at Rosen’s seven properties ranged from $69 per night to $129.

And U-Haul is offering 30 days of free self-storage and U-Box container usage at 54 facilities across the state.

People seeking free storage or use of a U-Box should contact the nearest participating location. A complete list can be found here.

Claiming the Uber ride is done on your nearest cell phone and requires downloading the Uber app. Tap “Account” on the bottom right of the app. Tap “Wallet” and scroll down to “+ Add Promo Code.” Next, enter the code IDALIARELIEF.  Select any of state-approved Florida evacuation shelters in one of the 29 eligible counties listed at floridadisaster.org/planprepare/shelters.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


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