Lyft puts $700K toward Oakland’s underserved communities

Lyft is donating $700,000 to TransForm, an organization focused on improving access to transportation in underserved areas throughout California. In partnership with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Lyft and TransForm will invest in a free bike library and community parklets in Oakland, Calif. Lyft will also offer free rides to low-income residents of Oakland.

“At Lyft, we believe it is our civic responsibility to make cities better places to live,” Lyft co-founder and president John Zimmer said in a statement. “We know that transportation is a major key to unlocking economic mobility. We also know that transportation has been inaccessible for far too many communities for far too long. We have a unique opportunity to set a new standard for transportation equity and inclusiveness.”

Lyft, which bought bike-share behemoth Motivate for about $250 million last July, is working with these organizations to figure out the best places to put bike-share stations. In addition to Lyft offering free rides and a $5 per month pass for bikes and scooters, the money will also enable East Oakland Collective to offer subsidized AC Transit passes for qualifying residents.

The $700,000 is specifically going toward TransForm partner organizations East Oakland Collective and Scraper Bikes. Those two organizations will focus on improving bike-share station placement and launching a community-run bike-lending library.

“The Scraper Bike Team is excited to be a partner on this program to empower black and brown residents and get more butts on bikes!” Scraper Bikes founder and executive director Champ Stevenson said in a statement. “We’ll help make sure the programs and infrastructure reflect the existing community and culture here in deep East Oakland. We plan on employing folks from the community to assist with some of the equity work that will move Oakland in the direction we the people believe it needs to be moving in.”

Update 2:08pm PT: While Lyft is donating $700,000 upfront, it will work with TransForm to raise an additional $300,000 from foundations.