City launches pilot electric vehicle rideshare program

Common Courtesy is offering a rideshare program with electric vehicles.

By Jordan Johnson

Remember when electric vehicles were a thought of the future? We’ve come a long way since the EV1 popped on the scene in 1996. Weird in structure and awkward in style, the two-seater wasn’t a fan favorite. But, the EV1 not only influenced vehicle design for the industry, it also introduced mainstream consumers to the idea of electric cars.

Electric vehicles are an ever-evolving technology that produces zero emissions and is showing no signs of slowing down. However, the majority of the United States isn’t taking advantage of the benefits of these vehicles.

The City of Atlanta Department of Corrections is identifying ways to reduce recidivism through enhanced public safety and partnerships in the community. It has been proven difficult for recently released inmates to complete court mandated requirements, treatment for addiction, opportunities for long-term employment, or to retrieve their possessions due to lack of transportation. The City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Resilience and Department of Corrections have partnered with nonprofit Common Courtesy, Inc., a nonprofit that provides transportation to those with low mobility access, to provide services using zero emission vehicles to a population that is often overlooked.

The city gave a one-time $80,000 donation to Common Courtesy for a six-month pilot of this program to remove a major barrier to those who need access. Common Courtesy is utilizing their ride-share suppliers and infrastructure to host this program while supporting those leaving the City of Atlanta Detention Center. The rideshare program used the Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental justice map and the Shared Use Mobility Center’s first/last mile map to determine the environmental and transportation benefits in the city.

The goal for this program is first, providing transportation, second, cost savings for the users, and third, environmental benefits in a city with emissions from transportation sources. The hope is that through Common Courtesy and their networks, we can assist in removing a barrier for recently released inmates as they work to better their outcomes and increase exposure to clean and rapid technology.

In May, the program launched with the support and collaboration of several rideshare partners and The Cute Shuttle, a system that transports persons in need from their work or homes to the Atlanta Community Food Bank and four West Side Atlanta community boot-strap programs. This allows riders to go and return to their homes with free personal transportation along with The Cute Shuttle’s unique short route vehicles.

The founders of the nonprofit organization Common Courtesy, Bob and Anne Carr, are dedicated to providing transportation to the most underserved communities in the Atlanta area. The Carrs consistently provided transportation to an elderly couple, Ella and James Rowland, for more than five years. This prompted their commitment to service.

Residents interested in signing up for Common Courtesy rides have to go through a registered chapter, which includes the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Atlanta City Detention Center, Iwi Fresh, Truly Living Well’s Collegetown Farm, Promise Youth Center, On the Rise Financial Center, and Westside Works. Those interested in becoming a driver can contact Common Courtesy, Inc. for more details.

For more information visit commoncourtesyrides.org or email admin@ccrides.org.

Jordan Johnson is the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Resilience Communications Manager.

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