Detroit being Detroit, there are almost always challenges. However, the Youth Transit Alliance is one of the ones trying to break the cycle of despair in the D for our children.
If you don’t know the YTA, this program is important in that it connects children in the city to after school programs. You’ve heard us go on and on about how there are some huge gaps. 39% of households don’t have internet. A very high percentage don’t have cars. Well, here’s a chance to do something, if even in a small way.
The Detroit Bus Company (those cool folks with the super-colorful buses you may have seen around town) does a lot more than just party tours. They also have the Youth Transit Alliance, which gives totally free rides to youth from their schools, to their after-school programs, then directly home to their door.
To start their service, they had to throw everything “known” about transit out the window. Unlike traditional transportation, the Youth Transit Alliance always goes door to door. With a driver and kid-facing conductor on board, kids are met with care, always accounted for and never left behind. There’s more information from an audio interview with Andy here on IT in the D (don’t worry, we’re linking you straight to the pertinent bit).
In many places, this is something that is just done by government or a school district, but, well, this is Detroit. Too much land area, too few people. And sadly, kids were getting left behind before this program. Initially seeded by money from a foundation, this year they have had to raise a good deal of the money themselves to keep the buses on the road. Their campaign is to help bridge the gap and is aiming for $20,000 – which as of this writing, they’ve hit $12,500. That pays for more than 88 days of the service (there are 120 school days). So progress is being made. Here’s the link to their Indiegogo fundraiser, if you’re so inclined.