City of South Bend, Indiana, Launches Carpooling Incentive for Workers with Limited Transport Options

Tech partner Hytch Rewards, working with local employers, will pay carpool commuters up to 50 cents per mile

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NASHVILLE, TENN. MARCH 2nd, 2020 – Hytch Rewards, a technology solution that incentivizes smarter mobility decisions, today announced it has been named an official tech partner for   Commuters Trust, an innovative transportation initiative of the City of South Bend, Indiana.

Commuters Trust was launched   late last year   under former mayor, former Democratic presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg. The city had identified that a lack of reliable, affordable transportation is a primary barrier to finding and maintaining employment for approximately 10,000 South Bend residents. As a solution, the city is working with employers to help low-income and part-time workers with unreliable transportation options commute to and from their jobs.

“As we evolved our program, we were looking for a solution that could help us strengthen and build new carpool and shared ride networks in our community,” said Aaron Steiner, program director for Commuters Trust.

The award-winning Hytch mobile app will be used to verify shared rides in real time and distribute per-mile cash incentives to passengers and drivers. Any South Bend resident can download the app and coordinate with friends or co-workers to provide transportation for the program. Not only can they earn up to 50 cents per mile when carpooling with a program participant, because every qualified mile earns carbon offsets, drivers can also eliminate the carbon footprint for their daily commute.

Hytch launched its commute for cash rewards platform in the company’s home city of Nashville in early 2018, and is now being rolled out to other markets including Seattle and San Francisco. In those cities, Hytch partners with employers, brands and governments to reduce traffic congestion and emissions. However, in the smaller market of South Bend (population: 102,245), the primary application of this versatile technology developed by Hytch will be to coordinate a peer-to-peer shared ride alternatives for workers with limited public transportation options. For overnight and weekend workers in a city the size of South Bend, public transportation may not always be operating.

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“The lack of dependable transportation – or no vehicle at all – makes it difficult for some people to consistently get to work on time, or forces them to turn down work opportunities when public transit options aren’t available,” said Steiner. “Our program solves a specific problem around access to employment. Ultimately, we think Hytch Rewards will become an important piece of the puzzle, to provide local workers more options to commute to work and reduce transportation as a barrier to employment.”

“This private-public partnership connects people to their workplace,” said Mark A. Cleveland, co-founder and CEO of Hytch. “By directly rewarding people for networking within their most familiar communities, we inspire carpooling at scale, avoid the fixed costs of mass transit and carve out the venture-capital-funded middleman. South Bend is showing other low-density and car-dependent cities, as well as rural areas, how to get it done at a very low cost.”

Major funding for the Commuters Trust program was provided by the City of South Bend winning a $1,000,000 grant through the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge. Hytch has now been selected through a competitive bid process to be the mobile app platform of choice for peer-to-peer car sharing as the city moves into Phase 2 of the three-year project.

“Workforce development is an issue for most communities in transition,” Cleveland added. “In this environment with less than 5 percent national unemployment, even if the skills gap is closed, the transportation gap can still be a barrier to success. That impacts families and entire communities. Workers who complete job training programs, become qualified and get hired still face the daily stress of getting to and from work.”

About Hytch Rewards
Hytch Rewards is a mobility incentive platform that gives users access to cash rewards and   carbon zero transportation   in sponsored areas. Employers and communities use Hytch to connect people to job opportunities and critical services, engage employees in corporate social responsibility initiatives, and promote the habits of sharing a ride, walking, biking or using mass transit. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, Hytch was recognized as the Nashville Technology Council’s Emerging Company of the Year, and has received the Tennessee Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Sustainable Transportation Award, and the Nashville Entrepreneur Center’s NEXT Award as Social Enterprise and Sustainability Startup of the Year. Email press@hytch.me for media inquiries.

About Commuters Trust
Commuters Trust is a public-private collaboration led by the City of South Bend, Indiana that provides local employees with more options to get to and from work. Access to reliable transportation is frequently cited as a top barrier to accessing and keeping a job in the South Bend region. Commuters Trust brings together local employers, transportation providers, and innovative mobility technology to solve this problem. Commuters Trust is supported by the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge. For information, visit   http://www.commuterstrust.com   or email info@commuterstrust.com.