RICHMOND -- A fledgling alternative transportation program targeting low-income residents has been awarded $343,000 in grant funding, and residents and city leaders want to raise awareness about the program's availability.
The grant, accepted Tuesday by the City Council, comes from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which identified "Easy Go Richmond" as a program that helps ease congestion and improve air quality while providing improved transportation options for low-income communities.
"These are great programs, just amazing," Councilman Tom Butt said. "It helps take kids to school and after-school activities, takes people grocery shopping and recreation."
Officially launched in January, "Easy Go Richmond" combines fleets of electric and hybrid vehicles, charging stations, shuttles and bicycle sharing with online scheduling. Services include a "Kid's Cab" shuttle service and car sharing that allows drivers to rent electric and hybrid vehicles for just a few dollars.
The program has three locations with staff, electric cars and bicycles: Richmond Village and Monterey Pines, both low-income housing complexes, and Hilltop mall. Councilman Jim Rogers, an early proponent of the program, said it is funded by a $2 million grant from Chevron Corp. and a variety of transportation grants such as the one accepted Tuesday.
"The program is a full-court press to try to reduce carbon emissions," Rogers said, adding that the
In accepting the grant, several residents and council members expressed concern with the lack of widespread public knowledge that the shuttles, electric cars and bicycles are available for residents.
"I work with a population that could really benefit from this program, and they don't know about it," said Councilwoman Jovanka Beckles.
Program administrators vowed to conduct more outreach and advertising to increase awareness of the program.
During an recent interviewr, Rogers cautioned that the program would require patience and outreach to reach its potential.
Learn more about Easy Go at www.ci.richmond.ca.us/index.aspx?NID=2549.
Contact Robert Rogers at 510.262.2726. Follow him at Twitter.com/roberthrogers.