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The Bloomberg Mayor’s Challenge (BMC) in South Bend

The lack of reliable, affordable transportation is estimated to be a primary barrier to finding and maintaining employment for about 10,000 South Bend area residents. With support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, South Bend is currently developing a new solution to address this challenge.

What is the Bloomberg Mayor's Challenge?

The Bloomberg Mayors Challenge is a yearlong competition that challenges city leaders to uncover and test bold, inventive ideas to confront the toughest problems faced by cities today. The Ride Guarantee program from South Bend’s Commuters Trust is one of the nine winning ideas of the 2018 U.S. Mayors Challenge.

What is the history of the Bloomberg Mayors Challenge in South Bend?

In 2018, the City of South Bend conducted a pilot program in partnership with local employers and a rideshare company. The goals of the pilot were to (1) demonstrate and measure the value of reliable transportation options and (2) gather lessons about how such a program can be expanded sustainably in South Bend. After the pilot, South Bend was one of nine cities selected to receive a $1 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies to continue improving, testing, and expanding its solution.

Who qualifies for Ride Guarantee?

Select employees of partner employers are eligible for Ride Guarantee. Phase 1 of the program includes select employees from the University of Notre Dame, Beacon Health, and the City of South Bend’s Venues Parks & Arts department. The program is expected to expand to more employers over the course of the grant period.

What is the difference between Commuters Trust and Ride Guarantee, and what is the city’s role?

Commuters Trust has been created by the City of South Bend as a brand under which to develop the Ride Guarantee Program. Ride Guarantee is the name of the program in which employees of select employers will enroll in order to qualify for commuting benefits.

What is the future of the Bloomberg Mayors Challenge in South Bend?

Ride Guarantee has been created to provide a new transportation option to help ensure employees have a reliable ride to and from work.

The official Ride Guarantee program began in September of 2019 with select employers through partnerships with Transpo and Lyft. The program is slated for a multi-year, phased implementation. Phase 1 of the program is expected to serve approximately 200 employees by the end of 2019. Ride Guarantee participants are offered a free Transpo bus pass and discounted Lyft rides to and from their worksite. The City and employers will work together with transportation providers to evaluate the impact of the program and plan for future expansion. By the end of the three-year grant period, the City aims to establish a program funded by employer and employee contributions. Ideally, the program will result in multiple participating employers and modes of transportation to significantly increase employee attendance, limit employee turnover, and improve employee quality of life.