In the Central Valley of California, agricultural workers and their families now have access to an electric car ride-sharing program.
Herminia Ibarra is known in her community as a “raitera,” a neighbor who gives rides to those in need. Three mornings each week she goes to the main office of Green Raiteros, the community ride-sharing in Huron, California. She chooses one of the EV’s available and then picks up two retired farmworkers, her regular clients, and drives them twenty miles to their dialysis appointments.
In Huron, a community with over 6000 residents, there’s no Uber or Lyft service for its mostly Latino population. The Green Raiteros ride-sharing program was created by Rey León, Huron’s mayor, through the Latino Equity Advocacy & Policy Institute, a nonprofit founded by Mr. León. The son of a migrant worker who came into the U.S. through the Bracero worker program, that provided agricultural workers from 1942-1964, Mr. Leon’s uncle was a volunteer raitera for the community.
Mr. León recalls when his uncle wasn’t available, taking a bus with his mother and his critically injured cousin to the hospital over fifty miles away. The bus made at least sixteen stops and so the journey took over three hours.
With the help of federal funds to set up charging stations for electric vehicles “in underserved areas,” Huron now has 30 charging stations.
Mr. León, a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, knew the importance of creating a ride-sharing program for the “maintainers of the food chain.”
A service that didn’t add carbon emissions to the already polluted and dusty air of the Central Valley.
In your community, is there an “underserved population” that would benefit from an EV ride-sharing program?
Might your local government help this happen, if a group of residents explains how such a service program would also reduce carbon emissions as well as create a network of EV charging stations in the community?
See Patricia Leigh Brown, “There’s No Uber or Lyft. There Is a Communal Tesla." The New York Times, June 16, 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/16/