As Charlotte continues to grow, and commute times continue to increase, Lyft is partnering with nonprofit organizations to close transportation gaps for low-income residents.
The rideshare company launched its Jobs Access Program in 35 cities, including Charlotte. As part of the initiative, unemployed residents will get free or reduced-fare rides to and from job training programs or job interviews.
Locally, Lyft is teaming up with Year Up and Generation to offer rides for their participants during the first three weeks of employment or until the employee receives their first paycheck.
“We know that for the unemployed, reliable transportation to a job interview or to the first few weeks of work can make a world of difference,” said Lauren Pelletier, Lyft Charlotte’s general manager.
Year Up Charlotte offers free job training and mentoring to eligible 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled at Central Piedmont Community College.
Qcitymetro was at Year Up’s ribbon-cutting ceremony in September to usher in its inaugural 51-member cohort. The students follow up their training with Bank of America internships and, upon successful completion, begin jobs at the bank for cybersecurity, application development or project management.
Generation Charlotte provides eligible participants with job and skills training at no cost, including programs for administrative medical assistants and customer care agents.
Improving transportation access and equity
The Job Access Program is part of Lyft’s $50 million City Works program, which largely centers on transportation equity and providing greater opportunities for underserved communities.
A 2018 study pinpoints commuting time as the single strongest factor in the odds of escaping poverty. According to Lyft’s research, 39% of its rides in Charlotte start or end in low-income areas.
The Jobs Access Program joins another Lyft initiative aimed at some of Charlotte’s most vulnerable communities. In August, Lyft rolled out its Grocery Access Program to provide discounted rides to designated grocery stores and food pantries for 75 families in the 28208 and 28216 zip codes, areas categorized as food deserts.
“Through our Grocery Access and Jobs Access programs, we’re able to drive positive change in the cities we serve, while also helping residents more easily get around their communities,” Pelletier said. “We look forward to continuing to find ways to address the challenges many face every day, like getting to and from the grocery store and feeding their families with the best, healthy options.”