Houston City Council Approves Funding for Expansion of Free EV Rideshare Services for Complete Communities
Today the City of Houston approved funding for the expansion of a free electric vehicle (EV) rideshare service in a historically underserved and under-resourced Houston community. RYDE, an on-demand, rideshare service, has been operating in Houston’s Third Ward since June and averaging almost 3,000 passengers per month. The $281,000 approved by Houston’s City Council today will allow the rideshare operator to expand its free, all-electric rideshare services beyond the Third Ward to another of the City’s designated Complete Communities. The funding will be dispersed to RYDE in monthly increments through the nonprofit organization, Evolve Houston.
“It’s exciting to see a Mayor and City Council get behind a true eco-friendly initiative aimed and providing critical transportation needs for underserved communities,” said Evolve Houston President and Executive Director Casey Brown. “The program has seen amazing success in the Third Ward and now another historically underserved community will be able to benefit from a service that gets residents to and from in-town destinations for free.”
Houston Complete Communities is a citywide initiative to revitalize Houston’s most under-resourced neighborhoods with the implementation of innovative community-identified projects and programs that address needs and improve access to services for residents and businesses.
“The positive aspects of expanding RYDE’s EV transportation initiative beyond Third Ward is twofold,” said Mayor Turner. “The environmental impact of the low-emission vehicles coupled with the vital service it provides to underserved neighborhoods makes this a win-win decision for the City of Houston and its residents who are faced with transportation challenges. This funding decision is in lockstep with Houston’s Climate Action Plan and the intention behind the Complete Communities initiative.”
RYDE electric vehicle service is provided Mondays – Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to improve mobility and connect residents to nearby grocery stores, medical care, pharmacies, doctors’ offices, schools, bus stops, and other essential areas in the community. The micro-transportation solution was piloted in Third Ward this fall and this funding will allow for immediate operation of two more vehicles planned in an additional Complete Community beginning in December 2023.
Of the contributing funds, $250,000 was earmarked by Mayor Turner, and $31,000 was contributed by District D Council Member Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, who has been an avid supporter of the initiative and its popularity within Third Ward. The two new vehicles are expected to hit the road as early as December 1, in addition to the continued service of two vehicles in Third Ward.