In our community, those who cannot afford to own a car or other forms of transportation face unequal barriers to accessing all that our community has to offer in terms of employment, goods and services.
IMPACT saw this inequality as an important issue to take on for our first community problem initiative.
We found that there were no bus routes that ran on Sunday and evening routes were few. Those who relied on public transit could not get to work on Sundays or in the evening. Others could not attend worship services or shop on Sundays, either.
Women and children had to cross dangerous intersections like the I-64 interchange to be able to go grocery shopping.
Others had to spend as much as $40 on taxis to get access social services because no bus line served the county government office.
The people wanted to see change. They wanted to see more equal access to all that our community has to offer. We organized our people power in order to make our voice heard. Our justice ministries packed to the MLK Auditorium- it was so filled to capacity that the fire marshal had to corral the 1,300 people inside and hundreds more waiting outside.
With the power of those 1,300 people, the first Nehemiah Action Assembly was a success. We won:
- Sunday bus serviceon the two most heavily traveled routes, Route 7 and the Free Trolley;
- Night serviceon Route 5 to serve people who work along the 29-Rio-Hydraulic corridor;
- Creation ofRoute 2B to serve the County Office Building, Region Ten, and the Southwood neighborhood.
Since 2007, not only can more people get to work, worship services, and go shopping, but ridership has increased by as much as 75% on these routes.