Upstate organizations tackle school, work transportation challenges

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – The United Way of the Piedmont is aiming to fix a major barrier for some people in the community: finding affordable and reliable transportation to get to school or work. They’re working with a handful of other organizations to help.

The bus wheels and where they go are a big part of Bill Bailey’s daily routine.

“You have to plan everything around the bus schedule, that’s the way you live your life,” Spartanburg Resident Bill Bailey said.

He doesn’t own a car. Sometimes that means walking the extra mile. And he hears a lot of similar stories from other riders on the city bus.

“She had to catch the bus 30 minutes early because she didn’t want to be late for her job, since there’s a lot of competition for a job right now,” Bailey explained.

It’s a roadblock leaders with the United Way of the Piedmont told us is nothing new.

“It’s a barrier for folks in our community who are trying to get to work or school. We are a community that is very dependent on having individual transportation,” said Alex Moore with the United Way of the Piedmont.

Moore said they’ve noticed getting to a job or classes is especially hard when it’s located in a rural part of town, where public transportation doesn’t typically go.

That’s why they, along with places like Spartanburg Community College, are on a mission to help.

“This grant gives us the opportunity to get people work-based learning experiences, increase education and really get them into high-need jobs,” said Director of Grants with Spartanburg Community College, Caroline Sexton.

Thanks to a grant, a $350 Lyft pass will be given to those who are eligible. It will be used specifically for getting to work or school.

Bailey said he can see this helping a lot of people, and in some cases, cut down on those miles walked.

Individuals who live in Spartanburg and Cherokee Counties and have no other means to get to work or school, may be eligible for the program.

Here are the other qualifications and a link to apply:

-Must live or work/attend school in Spartanburg or Cherokee County
-Must have no other means to get to/from work or school/training
-Must comply with the requirements of the program outlined in the Lyft Pass Client Training Support
-Guide and the Rider Agreement included in the application
-Must have a smart device with the Lyft app and a Lyft account to receive and use the Lyft Pass.
-Copy of 3 most recent paystubs (less if you haven’t received 3 paychecks yet)
-Copy of offer letter if job is pending
-Proof of enrollment in school/training program

How to apply: https://www.uwpiedmont.org/rideunited

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