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Huron’s mayor creates rideshare program aiming to help community and the environment

FRESNO, California (KFSN) – In rural Central Valley, something as simple as getting to a doctor appointment can be a challenge.

In an area that also faces poor air quality, Huron Mayor is taking action to help people with their general health and reduce the impact of his city on air pollution.

The nearly 7,000 people living there are mostly middle-income farmers with $ 31,000 a year.

Just off the main road of the city, you will find The LEAP Institute headquarters. It is a non-profit organization created by Huron Mayor Rey Leon.

“I think farmer communities deserve the best,” Leon said.

To give residents better access to critical services, such as doctor appointments, set up the free travel program Green Reiter.

“‘Raiteros’ comes from ‘raite.’ ‘Raite’ is a Spanish term for ride,” said Leon.

It’s the Green Raiteros because the fleet consists of 100% electric vehicles that charge right next to the headquarters of the non-profit.

As an environmental justice activist and advocate, Leon said it is important to use electric vehicles because the San Joaquin Valley has the worst air quality in some of the nations.

Experts say one of the main contributors to this pollution is the large trucks that use Highway 99 and Interstate 5.

The use of electric vehicles also gives Leon the opportunity to apply for grants to help fund the program and keep rides free for customers.

The idea for the Green Raiteros came, in part, from Leon’s struggles as a child.

He once had to go to a dying cousin and traveled 52 miles north to Fresno by bus.

“I think it was 13 stops and it took me three hours to get there,” Leon said.

He did not want his community to have difficulty getting access to basic services, so now residents just have to register as customers, book a route a few days in advance and a driver will pick them up.

This is what Jesus Contreres came to do as we talked to the mayor.

It took a walk until the appointment with a doctor about 50 miles away later that week.

Gregerio Hernandez uses the service several times a week to reach the dialysis center, which is about 20 miles away.

Soledad Lamos’s wife says free rides are a lifeline.

“For us, it was a huge support,” Lamos said in Spanish.

Hernandez doctor appointments are anywhere from 20 to 60 miles away.

Before Green Raiteros, travel added to the cost of health care.

Lamos said before they paid $ 60 to $ 80 for the ride.

Mayor Leon hopes the rideshare program will encourage other cities to see how beneficial electricity is to the environment and give its residents peace of mind to get where they need to go.

“I think what we’re doing is giving people the experience of what it’s like to go from a car person to a fleet community,” Leon said.

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Huron’s mayor creates rideshare program aiming to help community and the environment Source link Huron’s mayor creates rideshare program aiming to help community and the environment

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