ARPA Insight Stories: Baltimore, Let’s Ride to Work

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Baltimore, Let’s Ride to Work

Returning Baltimoreans to Work: Utilizing ARPA Fund for Commutes During and After the Pandemic

In 2022, Mayor Brandon M. Scott announced the launch of Baltimore City’s innovative transportation program, “Let’s Ride to Work.” Let’s Ride to Work (LRTW) is a partnership between the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development (MOED) and Lyft, Inc., supported with funds from the American Rescue Plan Act grant. Those who qualify must be 18 years or older, a resident of Baltimore City, have been newly employed within the past two weeks, work a minimum of 32 hours per week, and have a transportation need to reach their place of employment within Baltimore City. In keeping with its mission of delivering economic justice to Baltimore City residents, MOED invested $267,000 to fund up to 40 free rides per eligible resident for the first four weeks of employment. By then, the resident will likely have received their first paycheck, putting them on course to address their future transportation needs.

Public transportation is very limited in certain parts of Baltimore City, and the lack of access to reliable transportation is a well-known barrier to employment, as some residents need help to get to and from work daily. According to data from the Baltimore Neighborhoods Indicators Alliance, about 27% of households in Baltimore do not have a car. Car ownership can be seen as a burden for some Baltimore City residents, such as residents in the southernmost part of Baltimore, where about 33% of the community and 50% of children live below the state’s poverty line.

"We have numerous residents who are looking for meaningful employment but are held back by limited transit options. This program will provide stability to residents by helping them get to and from work during their initial pay period. I want to thank Lyft for helping make this possible," said Mayor Brandon M. Scott.

Meet Nikki Reed | Transportation Coordinator | Project Manager | Let’s Ride to Work | MOED

“ARPA funding has been instrumental in bolstering our efforts to address the critical issue of transportation barriers for Baltimore City residents, particularly those disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding has enabled us to provide essential transportation assistance to hundreds of individuals, facilitating their access to employment opportunities and supporting economic recovery efforts within our community.”

Meet Skye Weaver | First Ever Participant Rider | Let’s Ride to Work

Skye Weaver has the distinction of being the first participant in the Let’s Ride to Work program. After being justice-involved for 12 years, Mr. Weaver was encouraged to attend a MOED job fair. After acquiring employment with the M. Luis Construction company, he was connected to the Let’s Ride to Work Program. From the beginning of enrollment, Mr. Weaver expressed his interest in saving his first few paychecks to obtain a vehicle. With encouragement, an action plan, and determination, Mr. Weaver purchased a vehicle before completing 40 designated rides. Mr. Weaver was so grateful for LRTW that he asked permission to promote the program to his peers and other justice-involved residents.

“Receiving these rides is mind-blowing; I’m going to be able to save money with these free rides. This is not only a big deal for me; it’s going to be a big deal for so many people, especially those just coming home who don’t really have anything. You have no idea how many people this program is going to bless; just wait and see. I’m happy to be the first one!”

Meet Donald Braxton | Participant Rider | Let’s Ride to Work

After serving over 40 years in prison, Donald Braxton attended the monthly MOED and Safe Streets job fair, where he was hired on the spot. Mr. Braxton registered with Let's Ride to Work during that same event. Mr. Braxton's perseverance in becoming a productive member of society was so admirable that he was provided the opportunity to share his story on the local Channel 2 news! Read the rest of the story: Let's Ride to Work program offering a ride to redemption for Baltimore man.



Meet Zabihullah Noory | Participant Rider | Let’s Ride to Work

"[Let’s Ride to Work] was really helpful for me and my family as I started new employment. It helped me save money for other expenses such as rent, BGE payments, and food. This is a good program for newly hired employees; keep it up!! I am honored to live in such a city where they offer such programs. I really thank everyone involved in this program, especially Ms. Reed. Thank you so much."

Meet Christine Jones | Participant Rider | Let’s Ride to Work

"Let's Ride to Work helped me get started without worrying about how I would be able to get to and from work before my first paycheck. It had given me a chance to be at work early or on time without the stress. Nothing else could have helped. It was perfect and very highly appreciated. I cannot express how appreciative I am to have found this program. Thank you so much."

Meet Keisha Turner | Participant Rider | Let’s Ride to Work

“These rides helped me to arrive to work on time every day and on time without struggle or worry. I would not have thought to accept a job so far away from home without it, and it saved me from being stressed out about arriving to work on time. I am more comfortable and familiar with the bus route now. The program was great. This was a great opportunity. I’m truly grateful for this program.”

Meet Tiffany Spencer | Participant Rider | Let’s Ride to Work

“[The Let’s Ride to Work] program was a great experience for me. Starting a new career path at MOED, I did have transportation issues. With the 40 fabulous rides, I was able to get to and from work, which was 30 minutes each way. So grateful for Ms. Reed and her team. Everything was explained with great detail, and the application process was smooth and time-sensitive.”

Meet Ariana Haskins | Participant Rider | Let’s Ride to Work

"[Let’s Ride to Work] allowed me to start the job and make enough money to save up for my own vehicle. Essentially, giving me a head start. Truly grateful. It truly helped me get started. It was definitely a big help!”

Meet Donnell Montgomery | Participant Rider | Let’s Ride to Work

"[Let’s Ride to Work] gave me a great opportunity to get dropped off at the front door and be able to save money and time; it was perfect. I had a newborn son that I was able to spend more time with due to less travel time. I am grateful for the support and help from the program; it is very encouraging [and] makes me want to push forward.”

Continuing the Work | Baltimore Continues to Ride to Work

When this program launched, the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development hoped to help about 300 Baltimore City residents. Since the Let’s Ride to Work program was announced, 618 people have received rides, 18,939 rides have been given, and participants have saved 307,251 total minutes compared to transit (or 16 minutes saved per ride), far exceeding MOED’s original goal. Visit MOED’s Let’s Ride to Work sign-up page today

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