Group Of Cheerful Multi Racial Friends Sitting In Car Enjoying Road Trip Travel

Program provides commuters a free ride home from work should the unexpected happen

Ride share driver in car using the rideshare app in mobile phone. New taxi ride request from customer in smartphone application. Man picking up passengers for online carpool service.There are no free rides in life, unless you are a commuter who needs to get home from work. That’s when South Florida Commuter Services (SFCS), a program of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), steps in with a free Uber or taxi ride.

SFCS Guaranteed Ride Home (GRH) program provides commuters who carpool, vanpool, ride any form of public transit, bike or walk to work with a free ride home, from work should the unexpected happen.

“It’s an important incentive,” says Jeremy Mullings, Director of South Florida Commuter Services (SFCS).

This FDOT program does have an ulterior motive for the offer, albeit an excellent one, “We want to encourage people to ride transit, carpool, walk or bike to work,” Mullings added. 

It’s not just a one-time deal, either. Commuters who carpool, vanpool, ride mass transit, bike or walk to work three or more days a week are entitled to six free Uber/Lyft or taxicab rides per year should the need arise. 

The reasons can be many. Perhaps it is that you ended up working late on that big project due the next day and missed the last bus home. Or your carpool partner had to leave early (or late). 

You might have taken the bus to work, but just heard your child or another immediate family member is sick and needs you now, and the bus is not scheduled to stop by your workplace for some time. The bike that gets you to your class at a college or university is usually pretty reliable, but you noticed a flat tire after class. Your back started hurting at work and the walk home would be excruciatingly painful. What do you do in all of these cases? You call Guaranteed Ride Home and schedule an Uber/Lyft or a taxicab to pick you up. The cost? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. 

Portrait of happy businessman commuter waiting for the train at the station. Commuting to work.
Commuters who carpool or vanpool, ride mass transit, bike or walk to work three or more days a week are entitled to six free Uber/Lyft or taxicab rides per year should the need arise.
Overhead freeway carpool only sign with blue sky.

The program, funded in its entirety by FDOT, is available for residents of Indian River, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe Counties. Similar versions are available throughout the state but may use a reimbursement format. The SFCS version requires no outlay from the participant.

Although the program has been available in similar versions throughout the state since the 90s, it remains a hidden gem for many commuters. Mullings is eager to raise awareness of this benefit.

“We would like to get the word out more, so commuters know we have got their backs,” he said.

Regardless of how long the commute back home from work may be, Guaranteed Ride Home program will foot the bill. Mullings highlights a case where a Fort Pierce resident was unexpectedly stranded at his job at Miami International Airport, Guaranteed Ride Home had an Uber drive him to his home for free, with nary a dollar out of his pocket.

There are only two requirements that must be met to qualify.

1. The commuter must live in one of the counties previously listed and they must be at work.

2. The service is not intended to get you home after you’ve been partying or if you had gone shopping and needed help getting back home. Ditto for going to the doctor or running errands.

Any requests for trips outside of South Florida Commuter Services seven-county area are up to the discretion of SFCS.

Registration with the program is required at least 24 hours prior to accessing the service, but registration is extremely easy and requires only a few minutes. Use of the Guaranteed Ride Home program is available to all registered participants who meet the residency and commuting criteria.

You do not need an Uber or Lyft app, or have an Uber or Lyft account, to access the service. You will receive details of the ride via text messages on your cell phone.

Acceptable commuter employment locations must have a business or commercial address, a registered phone number and employ more than one employee. Authorized pickup locations are the business or college/university address on file. You will ONLY be picked up from your work address on your South Florida Commuter Services (SFCS) profile. You will not be able to utilize your voucher for a Guaranteed Ride Home trip if you request a ride from another location.

Registered Guaranteed Ride Home commuters can call 1-800-234-RIDE (7433) to request a free ride and the amazing commuter support specialist team will take care of the rest.

While the limit is six free rides a year, the number is automatically replenished to another set of six every October 1. Commuters do not need to renew their registration with SFCS unless any of their information has changed.

South Florida Commuter Services aims to reduce vehicle miles traveled in South Florida and the Treasure Coast through a variety of strategies and incentives that also include free and discounted transit passes and employer-based carpool and vanpool programs.

In addition to convenience. Guaranteed Ride Home gives commuters a priceless benefit: peace of mind.

“You’ll never get stranded at work,” Mullings said.

South Florida Commuter ServicesFor more information or to register, visit GuaranteedRideHome.org

See the original article in print publication

Feb. 21, 2024

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