Lyft expands bike sharing program in East Oakland with million dollar project

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The city of Oakland is partnering with ride-sharing provider Lyft, to increase access to transportation options for low-income residents.

A $1 million initiative hopes to bridge the transportation equity gap in underserved areas.

Lyft recently got into the bike share system when it acquired Motivate-- the largest bike share operator in North America.

Oakland's mayor stood with community leaders who say they are beyond thrilled to be riding with Lyft, so to speak, to address transportation inequity.

"We hope that this sets a precedent for other cities across America, that we in government have wronged low-income communities of color by disinvesting in transportation options," said Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf.

The million dollar project sponsored by Lyft looks at expanding bike sharing options in East Oakland.

"In previous forms of transportation, whether it was a taxi and certain people where being passed up, we're finding much more people can get access to transportation with solutions that Lyft and others are offering," said John Zimmer, Lyft co-founder and president.

Part of the issue is that ride-sharing services are not affordable for everyone, which is why Lyft is offering some free rides to low-income residents as well.

"That's one of the main reasons I don't take it as much, is because the cost is not attainable," said Roy Fitch with Scraper Bike Team.

The Scraper Bike Team is one of the partnering groups that will use the funding to open a bike library for people to rent out rides.

Fitch uses his refurbished bike to get around town.

"We take bikes from scratch and refurbish them, and also create them, put paint on them," said Fitch.

While these artistic bikes are fun to watch, are they the solution to the Bay Area's transit nightmare?

"No, I think that's all part of the solution," said Loren Taylor, councilmember for District 6, which is part of East Oakland. "All the transportation solutions have to work together. Mass transit, public transportation."

The Lyft bikes just happen to be the latest component to improving transportation.

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