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Ride Sharing Collaboration Aims to Bridge Transportation Gap for Low-Income Workers

Racqui Stephen

Onondaga County and Jobs Plus have partnered with a ride sharing service to help bridge the gap between transportation and employment.   Effective immediately, Lyft will provide individuals on temporary assistance an alternative means to get to and from work. 

Commissioner of Social Services, Sarah Merrick, says the new service is another option to owning a car or public transportation. 

If transportation could be satisfied with CENTRO, we will use CENTRO but in the case of afterhours and remote locations, the job coach will calculate the rides needed for approximately a month to get from home to work, work to home and create a Lyft account”                          

The account is set up with the employer, who is then reimbursed by the county from its temporary assistance budget.  Merrick notes that they are starting small, partnering with three companies to begin, in hopes that other Jobs Plus clients will join.  Brophy Services is one of the first companies to adopt the new service.  President Eileen Brophy says for her, the struggle hits closer to home.

I had one employee who had a car, lost it. She was a full time employee, she is done. Now she is on public assistance, living on public assistance because she can’t get to work and pay her bills”                                 

The service can also be used to drop off and pick up children from daycare for clients on the way to or from work.    In all, there are 5,600 temporary assistance clients enrolled in Jobs Plus; half are able to work, and half are families.  Lyft officials say the collaboration is the first of its kind in New York State. 

Credit Racqui Stephen / WAER News

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at