Many have experienced the catch .22 that is early-life employment. The difficulty of finding a way back and forth to work before you can fully afford the expenses that come with a vehicle. Unless their parents are feeling extra generous, this complication marks a critical turning point for most teenagers on their way into adulthood. That’s what it should remain- a turning point. In modern society, a vehicle is almost as critical as a roof over your head and food in your stomach. Gone are the days of easily-accessible, livable employment. A five to ten mile commute to work each day is a blessing, considering that the average American commute is 27 minutes one way. For those who cannot afford reliable transportation, they’re stuck with what they can get- either public transit or walking. Outside of a major metropolitan area, employment for someone without a vehicle to becomes exponentially more difficult to find. Given that most people over the age of 25 have other responsibilities, be that bills, debt or a family, working a minimum-wage job to “get a car” is an untenable situation. Simply put, it isn’t possible. This concern applies to a labelled demographic; the working poor.
Nichole Keyes’ story, a 28-year old single mother of three children mirrors those of many other throughout the United States. Lacking transportation, Keyes still works- if she didn’t, there would be no way for her family to survive. Walking miles to access public transportation, and sleeping unhealthily little just to get by, Keyes doesn’t have the financial or employment stability to even think of preparing for her children’s future. Public transit infrastructure in the United States either doesn’t exist, or is lacking severely. In Keyes’ case, her work is too far from the city limits to receive transit service, and she has little other choice. Working anywhere else, something like the customer service sector, simply doesn’t pay enough to keep a family alive. Many young folk are beginning their lives adrift in this demographic, buried beneath an eternal avalanche of fate-cast paradoxes. The only way to get a job good enough to afford reliable transportation, is to often have that transportation in the first place.
The Federal Transit Administration undertook the task of studying these disadvantaged populations in February of 2013, concluding that affordable transit was one of two factors limiting the working poor from climbing out of the economic stagnation that they’ve been dropped into.The first factor affecting the working poor is that more often than not, affordable housing is located well away from most places of work. This further complicates acquiring employment for those who do not have reliable transportation- the second factor. A lack of transportation to and from work often leads to a further stratification. The working poor pose a major demographic that has only been growing in size, a demographic that is further increasing the United States’ income inequality. The worst access to public transit often mirrors the lowest income districts in metropolitan areas, according to The Atlantic.
According to a study done by Raj Chett and Nathaniel Hendren of Harvard University, transportation and the ability to be geographically mobile has major implications about the financial mobility of a demographic as well. According to the study, commutes and commuting zones, which can be extended by easy access to transportation, have a major causal effect on intergenerational economic mobility as well. If the parents of a child are classified as working poor, it is more than likely that the child’s future mirrors that of their parents, or perhaps even worse.
The United States’ lackluster infrastructure and the growing working poor demographic poses a major threat to both the future of countless people and the economic growth of our country. The question is, if governments are just now taking the situation seriously, what can the private sector do? Ridesharing costs are often just as expensive as taxis in larger urban areas, and the distances required in rural regions leads to hikes in cost as well. How can the working poor afford to utilize private-sector transportation in order to alleviate their economic situation? Gift-A-Ride is RideSpider’s answer.
Helping our community is our goal. RideSpider hopes to affect change in the areas in and around Chattanooga, Tennessee through the Start Some Good foundation. By raising a fund for the working poor, RideSpider can ensure that easy and affordable transportation is offered to those that cannot afford it. In raising money by which we can pay our drivers, RideSpider opens up an entirely new world of accessibility for the working poor. If the first campaign is successful, opening avenues for greater expansion of support for the working poor is a definite goal for the company.
Our campaign, Gift-A-Ride opens on Wednesday, the 16th of October. The more support that we receive means the more publicity and help that those in dire economic straits can receive. RideSpider vows to help.