City Pilots Universal Basic Mobility Benefit, Oakland, CA 2022
5 minutes Date Launched: Jan 6, 2022
Credit: City of Oakland
The City of Oakland Department of Transportation (OakDOT) has launched a Universal Basic Mobility Pilot for 500 residents and employees in East Oakland. Participants receive this benefit through a prepaid debit card, with a starting value of $150. These participants receive an additional $150 in transportation benefits after completing a survey in January 2022. Participants can use the benefits to access public transit, bikeshare, and shared e-scooters. These eligible transportation services include AC Transit, Bay Wheels (Lyft), BART, Lime, the San Francisco Bay Ferry, and Clipper. Many of these services also provide means-based discounts to low-income customers.
OakDOT is supporting this pilot with a $243,000 grant from the Alameda County Transportation Commission. Over 60% of this budget covers the cost of prepaid cards, while the remainder of the budget pays for labor, marketing, and other incidental expenses. There are 500 program participants randomly selected from a pool of over 1,000 applicants. Local organizations partnered with OakDOT to market this pilot to community members. This pilot will be evaluated in Spring 2022.
Universal basic mobility benefits are a novel concept tested in other communities. Advocates for this benefit believe that the quality of life for participants can improve by eliminating the cost barrier to using shared mobility. Some expected positive outcomes include increased savings for low-income people, improved access to jobs, medical appointments, and other services, and broader use of shared mobility.