Hytch Rewards, a technology solution that incentivizes smarter mobility decisions, was named an official tech partner for Commuters Trust, an innovative transportation initiative of the City of South Bend, Ind.
Commuters Trust was launched late last year under former mayor 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.
The 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, the primary application of the 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.
“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 Aaron Steiner, program director for Commuters Trust. “Our program solves a specific problem around access to employment.
Major funding for the Commuters Trust program was provided by the City of South Bend winning a $1 million 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.