Regional transit isn’t likely to get an overhaul anytime soon in metro Detroit, but even if it does, plenty of people still struggle to pay for the reliable transportation they need.
Groups like JVS Detroit are filling the gaps through programs, trying to make trips to and from work more affordable.
“If you’ve been out of work for some time and you’re looking at this great job, how are you getting to and from?” asked Danita Love Carter, the manager of Detroit rehabilitation services. “If I haven’t got my first paycheck yet, there are services we offer that can be as small as a gas card, to a monthly bus pass.”
The help comes as part of the program to connect out of work seniors and workers with disabilities to careers — beyond the gas cards or bus passes, the group also trains people to use the bus system so they can become more independent.
Drevon Travis, a worker at Brand Motion in Southfield, is a former recipient of help from JVS. He’s been working for more than a year putting together a variety of aftermarket harnesses that add sensors and backup cameras to vehicles. Travis said if it weren’t for JVS Detroit, he likely wouldn’t be where he is today.
“At the time, I had no transportation,” said Travis. “Everybody was at work, the only thing I could rely on was the bus.”
In addition, to help with transportation, Travis also got job training.
Daniel Maselli, the employment facilitator that helped place Travis in his job with Brand Motions, said there are more people struggling to get to jobs that could change their lives than people realize.
“There were times he rode his bike,” said Maselli. “One time I saw someone blow by him and soaked him down because it was raining cats and dogs. I stopped and asked him to get the bike and I’d give him a ride. He was like, ‘No, I’m already on my way.’”
Maselli and Love Carter point toward cases like Travis’ as proof that a little bit of help can go a long way. Without transportation, many of the hundreds of people who utilize their programs wouldn’t be able to find jobs that turn into careers.
If you’d like to learn more about the various transportation and job training programs, JVS Detroit runs you can learn more on the group’s website. In addition to helping people, they’re currently seeking donors to help them continue their programs that connect Detroiters to jobs.