Dependable access to grocery stores, hospitals, and government agencies may not seem remarkable, but for the residents of California’s San Joaquin Valley, it’s life-changing.

SUMC is excited to announce the launch of Green Raiteros, a progressive step towards transportation justice and economic opportunity in San Joaquin Valley farming communities. Developed by the Latino Environmental Advancement & Policy Institute (LEAP) in partnership with SUMC, the EV fast-charging network EVgo, and the Fresno County Rural Transit Authority, the program uses a shared fleet of electric vehicles and volunteer drivers or “raiteros” to connect the predominantly Latino and farming city of Huron to vital services in Fresno, CA. Previously, the only public transit option available was a six-hour round trip bus ride with infrequent service.

“Green Raiteros is a solution that is an attempt to take care of five problems,” said Huron Mayor Rey León, who is also the Executive Director of LEAP, “economic justice, environmental justice, climate justice, health justice, and transportation justice.”

Huron Mayor Rey León

The need for ridesharing in this community of 7,000, a place where nearly a quarter of residents do not own cars, is clear. For decades, Huron residents have used an informal, self-organized system where individual raiteros would drive neighbors to medical appointments and essential services in Fresno for a small fee. León saw how this system could be formalized into the kind of economically sound, dependable, affordable and clean mobility option his community needed.

“We are thrilled to see the program launch,” said SUMC Executive Director Sharon Feigon, “it’s been an exciting process supporting Rey León’s vision, and we’re eager to see an affordable, sustainable new mode of transportation come to Central Valley.”

Green Raiteros launches with two battery-electric vehicles, a handful of raiteros drivers, and a new Community and Mobility Center with ten Level 2 EV chargers. Insurance is provided by the program. Organizers hope to expand the program with more electric vehicles and up to 12 professional raiteros making 100 trips per day. Our vision said León, “is to make Huron the Greenest farmworker city in the country.”

SUMC is proud to have provided technical assistance to the research and development of Green Raiteros, led the development of the business plan, and advised on the best practices of shared fleet management. Aligning with the goals of our partners EVgo, SUMC believes that Green Raiteros is a model that can expand beyond the San Joaquin Valley and make the benefits of clean technology and transportation equity accessible to all communities.

Image credit: Tim Daw

About Green Raiteros
Green Raiteros is a non-profit rural ridesharing service that builds on an indigenous service that has existed for decades in the San Joaquin Valley. Green Raiteros will provide cost-effective transportation to underserved, farmworker communities to help increase their economic and health opportunities while reducing air pollution by using electric vehicles.

About the LEAP Institute
LEAP works with San Joaquin Valley communities to foster education equity, economic, climate, and environmental justice through leadership development, advocacy, and policy.

About EVgo
EVgo is America’s largest public DC fast charging network, delivering charges to EV drivers on the go at a rate approximately eight times faster than conventional Level 2 charging. EVgo’s chargers are in high-traffic locations where demand for EV charging is the greatest.

About SUMC
SUMC is a non-profit, public interest organization dedicated to creating a multimodal transportation system the works for everyone. By fostering collaboration among public and private sectors, encouraging the sharing of transportation assets, piloting programs, conducting research, and providing policy and technical expertise, SUMC seeks to extend the benefits of shared mobility for all.