Uber gives free ride to voters

But there are a few catches to the offer. Passengers have to be first-time users of the car-service app, and they have to be going to or from polling stations. And fares have to be less than $20.12.

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
2 min read
Uber is offering free rides for voters. Uber
Whoever said there's no such thing as a free ride hasn't seen Uber's latest promotion.

The car-service booking app, which came under fire last week for boosting prices in New York in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, says today that it's going to give free rides to voters tomorrow. It's pairing up with Rock the Vote to offer the promotion, accessed with code VOTEUBER.

There are a few catches to this offer, though. First of all, it's only open to people who've never used Uber before. And the free ride is only valid for a trip to or from a polling station and only during a city's specified voting hours tomorrow.

Also, it only covers a ride that costs up to $20.12. Any amount over that will be charged to the passenger's credit card on file.

Uber's move comes less than a week after it angered customers by implementing "surge pricing" in New York. The policy allows drivers to boost fares exponentially during high-demand times, such as New Year's Eve. After the massive storm that hit the region, "surge pricing" resulted in fares that could be double or even higher the normal rates.

Uber's smartphone personal vehicle service Uber
In New York, where public transportation has been hobbled by the natural disaster, many people have been relying on taxis and car services to get to work. Charging even higher fees resulted in complaints about price gouging, though Uber contended it was the only way to get drivers on the road.

The Election Day ride offer is likely partly an effort to drum up positive press following the outrage last week. However, the guidelines for the promotion limit the potential reach. People generally live close to their polling stations and likely wouldn't need car service if just heading there from home. But if they're heading to or from work, it could be a pretty appealing offer.