Ask anyone in Los Angeles about transportation of any sort, and you’ll get the same answer. It can be a headache to put it nicely. That’s why it’s so exciting to hear about a groundbreaking pilot program being conducted in South L.A. called Universal Basic Mobility (UBM). Even more exciting – it’s the biggest Universal Basic Mobility study in the United States. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) has a vision that all people in Los Angeles have access to safe and affordable transportation options. They aim to achieve this through a Universal Basic Mobility approach to transportation that they hope will eliminate the immobility many people face due to racism, systemic marginalization, high cost, and other burdens.
The program is funded through a combination of grants from the State of California Climate Investment Program and by the City of Los Angeles, and the initial range of the UBM pilot program consists of much of South Los Angeles. This area was chosen because of the economic challenges and transportation issues that so many of the residents there face. You can see the full details on why South Los Angeles was chosen for the pilot program here.
One of the most interesting aspects of the UBM project is the Mobility Wallet Program. Residents who are part of this project are provided with a prepaid debit card filled with $150 per month. This enables them to pay for numerous transportation choices such as taking a bus, riding a train, renting a shared e-scooter or e-bike, or even taking an Uber or Lyft. The most important aspect of this program is that the transportation they take is based on their own personal preferences. The whole premise of Universal Basic Mobility is that people know what they need. They just need to be given the money to make their own choice.
To find out more information about the entire Universal Basic Mobility program in South Los Angeles, go to their website here.