OAKLAND — Lyft is donating $700,000 to bring more transportation options to East Oakland, including a free bike lending library, bike share stations and community parklets, the company announced Monday. The money is going to TransForm, an Oakland-based organization that focuses on improving transportation and walkability in underserved neighborhoods, as part of a $1 million…
OAKLAND — Lyft is donating $700,000 to bring more transportation options to East Oakland, including a free bike lending library, bike share stations and community parklets, the company announced Monday.
The money is going to TransForm, an Oakland-based organization that focuses on improving transportation and walkability in underserved neighborhoods, as part of a $1 million partnership also involving the city of Oakland.
In addition, the San Francisco-based ride-sharing company said the donation will pay for free Lyft rides, discounted AC Transit passes and a $5 a month pass for bikes and scooters. TransForm and the East Oakland Collective, a community organization promoting racial and economic equity, is running the community-driven program.
Residents who qualify for SNAP or equivalent federal benefits can apply for a pass for bikes and scooters and the free rides shares go to clients of the East Oakland Collective. Officials with TransForm said the focus is serving low-income East Oakland minorities who the government “denied resources to based on their race.”
“This is absolutely an incredible gift for East Oakland but one that East Oakland deserves to make up for the systematic neglect that this part of the city has had for generations,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said a Monday news conference along with Lyft co-founder and President John Zimmer.
Clarrissa Cabansagan, TransForm’s new mobility policy director, said her organization and others for years have called for investment in East Oakland, and said “it’s finally happening.”
“Low-income residents and communities of color have been passed over time and time again,” she said. “The best part is that Lyft is giving East Oaklanders the reins to determine how new mobility options will serve them.”
Tyrone “Champ” Stevenson Jr., executive director of the Scraper Bike Team, is a key community leader in the pilot programs. The East Oakland native said he founded the collective — a group of young residents who ride around on modified and decorated bikes — to give back to his neighborhood. As a kid, he said he would sometimes have to walk in the street because the sidewalks were littered in trash.
“Living in deep East Oakland we see too often potholes, we see too often homeless people sleeping in cars,” Stevenson Jr. said. “As a child, I would have to navigate around all that just to get to school … just to get to work.”
On Wednesday, the Scraper Bike Team plans to open a free bike share program funded by the Lyft donation at the Martin Luther King Jr. Branch located at 6833 International Blvd. Stevenson said it will be open four days a week. “I want the community of East Oakland to know a brighter future is coming,” he said.
Anthony Foxx, chief policy officer at Lyft who served under President Obama as Secretary of Transportation, said areas like East Oakland suffer in terms of health, wellness and job access because of a lack of transportation options.
“What happens is when someone walks out of their door, the range of choices they have typically are fewer than in wealthier areas. Today, we begin to change that,” Foxx said. “We are putting a million in the ground here because we believe having access to adequate bike and scooter assets is going to be a game changer for so many people in this community.”