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Long before Uber and Lyft, the small, primarily Latino city of Huron, California already had an informal ridesharing service.

Leon: “It’s been happening for as long as I can recall.”

Lifelong resident Rey León says the drivers, known as “Raiteros,” are mostly retired farm workers.

A critical way to connect the town's low-income residents with services of the larger city. Click To Tweet

They use their own vehicles to drive carless residents to doctor’s visits and other appointments in Fresno, which is about 50 miles away and hard to reach by bus. León says the Raiteros provide a critical way to connect the town’s low-income residents with the services of the larger city.

León directs the San Joaquin Valley Latino Environmental Advancement Project, which is working to formalize the Raiteros service and make it more environmentally friendly. The group has gotten grants to help buy two hybrid plug-in vehicles and several charging stations for the Raiteros to use.

He says clean transportation will help improve the area’s poor air quality and reduce carbon pollution.

León: “I wanted to figure out how we could provide a solution that could take care of the transportation issue, the health issue, the economic issue … as well as the climate issue.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

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