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Huron mayor launches rideshare program to benefit community and environment

Huron mayor launches rideshare program to benefit community and environment

FRESNO (Calif.) — Getting to a doctor’s appointment in rural areas of Central Valley can be a challenge.

Huron’s mayor has taken action to improve air quality in an area where residents also face poor health.

Nearly 7,000 people live there, with a median household income around $31,000 per year.

Just off the town’s main street, you’ll discover The LEAP Institute headquarters. It was founded by Rey Leon, Huron’s Mayor.

Leon said, “I believe that farmworker community deserve the best.”

To make residents more accessible to vital services, such as doctor appointments, he created the rideshare program. Green Raiteros.

“Raiteros” comes from ‘raite. Leon said that ‘Raite is a Spanglish term which comes from ride.

It’s the Green Raiteros, because the fleet is 100% electric and charges right at the headquarters of the non-profit.

Leon, an environmental activist and advocate, stated that electric vehicles are important because the San Joaquin Valley has the worst air quality in America.

Experts believe large trucks that use Interstate 5 and Highway 99 are one of the main contributors.

Leon has the option to apply for grants for the program to help pay for the electric vehicle and keep the rides for clients free.

The Green Raiteros were born out of Leon’s struggles as an infant.

Once he needed to reach a dying relative, he traveled the 52 miles north by bus to Fresno.

Leon stated that the trip took him three hours and consisted of 13 stops.

He didn’t want his community having to struggle to access essential services. Residents can register as clients, reserve a ride a few weeks in advance, and a driver will pick up them.

Jesus Contreres, a man of faith, came in to do that while we were speaking with him.

He needed to be taken to a doctor’s office about 50 miles away, later in the week.

Gregerio Hernandez uses this service several times per week to get to dialysis. It is located about 20 miles away.

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Soledad Lamos, his spouse, said that the free rides were a lifeline.

Lamos stated in Spanish, “It has been a tremendous support for us.”

Hernandez’s doctor appointments can be found anywhere between 20 and 60 miles away.

Before the Green Raiteros the trips were increasing their healthcare costs.

Lamos claimed that before they paid $60 to $80 for a ride.

Mayor Leon hopes that the rideshare program will inspire other cities to embrace electric vehicles and give residents peace of mind when they travel.

Leon stated, “I think what I’m doing is providing folks with the experience of what a community owning and owning a fleet.”

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