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in the day."A lot of us felt really unheard, like we were not part of those decisions and they were made without a lot of community input," Jackson said.The group has developed a 19 point plan to improve the city's transportation system, lobbying for everything from a better complaint system to expanded hours.Just Economics surveyed more than 600 bus riders last year following the changes. Buses not arriving on time and the earlier end times were the top complaints. Improved operator courtesy and cleanliness were the best changes, participants said.The survey also found that close to 80 percent of bus riders reported a household income of $25,000 a year or less, and 49 percent reported $10,000 or less."We're hearing over and over again, 'It's the budget, it's a budget issue, there's just no money,'" Jackson said, "But a Converse Sale Womens Ebay

Poor people are lazy. They just can't be trusted to show up to work on time, and they're unreliable. They miss appointments, make excuses and even if they do their jobs well, you just can't count on them the way you can people who can afford cars.These are the stereotypes faced by Bella Jackson's family and almost anyone living in Asheville who is dependent on an improving but still under resourced public transportation system.Every time a bus passes them by, arrives early or late, and every time they have to check that "no" box on a job application asking if they have their own means of reliable transportation, these are the myths that they face."So many people just have no idea what kind of skill set it takes and what a drain it is, what kind of stress it is just to get from one place to another," Jackson said.One example: Even if every bus leaves on time and none are full neither of which is a given Jackson's family has to budget at least three hours travel time from their home in Hillcrest Apartments to get to and from an affordable grocery store about a mile and a half away.A trip to Walmart, say, means taking the bus from Hillcrest to the downtown transfer station, catching another to the store, waiting for 30 minutes or an hour Converse Desert Boots Sale

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for the bus back downtown, then catching the final route home.Those long ride times and limited space for grocery bags on the bus also put serious limits on the types of food she can buy for her family, typically at the expense of healthier options."If you're looking for something compact and durable, and something that won't melt or get hot for an hour or two hours on the bus, you almost have to go for higher calorie, processed, less fresh foods," Jackson said. "Earth Fare is the closest thing to where we live, but there is no way we can afford that."The limitations of public transit have an impact well beyond daily inconveniences, she said."It's not just that it's hard to deal with," Jackson said. "It's the fact that every time you're late for work, every time you miss your child's appointment because the bus passed you by or worse, you lose your job it perpetuates this mythology that poor people are lazy and unreliable."Society's answer to climbing out of poverty is 'get a job, get a job,'" she said. "What they don't think about is whether or not there's the infrastructure to keep that job and do everything else you need to function to live a good life. We don't have that infrastructure."Jackson Converse All Star Hi Black Canvas is a member of the People's Voice on Transportation Equality, a group formed from a Just Economics' Voices for Economic Justice Leadership Training Program.She and her husband, Calvin Allen, live in Hillcrest with her two sons, ages 3 and 6. Jackson and Allen, who now serves as a member of the city's transit committee, have become something of a voice for people dependent on public transportation, which accounts for about 70 percent of bus riders in the city.The organization has had some significant victories in recent months, and she's quick to point out that they are grateful for the support they've received from the city.The proposed 2014 15 city budget contains money to start Sunday service at the beginning of 2015 and to fix problems with the transit system's C route two of the major concerns expressed by bus riders in recent years.Amy Cantrell, community organizer with Just Economics, thanked City Council Tuesday night during a public hearing on the budget. "I want to thank you for listening," Cantrell said. "We've said that it was a priority and you've made it a priority, and we are grateful for your support."Itiyopiya Ewart, a member of the transit committee, echoed Cantrell's thanks, adding that Sunday service was the greatest unmet need identified by riders."There's still so much work to be done, and we encourage you to keep this direction up."But even with that progress, organizers say they have a long way to go in improving the system."This is a marathon for us, not a sprint," said Vicki Meath, executive director of Just Economics. "We are so pleased with how responsive the city has been and their willingness to work with us. That's been big, but we have a long way to go."The People's Voice on Transportation Equality began meeting in 2012 after a series of overhauls to the transit system caused concerns among regular bus riders, especially the elimination of later bus hours.The bus system, officially called Asheville Redefines Transit or ART, dramatically overhauled its routes, changed operating times and made other modifications in May 2012 as it implemented a new master plan. Those changes included the elimination of routes later Converse Gold Sequin

lot of the things we're asking for aren't about money. A lot are, but a lot aren't."

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