Some 500 East Oakland residents and employees received a $150 prepaid debit card to help ease hardship and promote alternatives to private vehicles, Oakland transportation officials said Thursday.
The cards are part of the city's Universal Basic Mobility pilot program, which provides $300 for recipients to ride public transit and use bikeshare and shared e-scooter programs.
The final $150 will be loaded onto participants' cards after they complete a survey this month. Following an evaluation of the pilot, a decision will be made whether to expand the program to help residents across the city.
"Poverty is not a personal failure -- it's a policy failure. We must continue to tackle these issues aggressively to improve outcomes for our most vulnerable neighbors," Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a statement.
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"Oakland is a place where our drive to innovate with our public services matches with our community values," Schaaf said.
Funding for the pilot is coming from a $243,000 grant from the Alameda County Transportation Commission. The pilot will be evaluated this spring, city officials said.
More than 1,000 people expressed interest in participating in the pilot, and 500 were chosen at random, city officials said.
People who were not selected are on a waiting list and will be the first chosen if the pilot gets long-term funding.