Winston-Salem State University study finds taking the bus to work comes with sacrifices

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — For Brittany Marshall, the city bus is this single mom’s only way to work.

Marshall’s story was featured in a Winston-Salem State University documentary that features the Wells Fargo employee’s struggle to get it work.

She’s like many people who spend long hours on bus routes to better their lives.

“Each week they are spending about 8.7 hours more to get work than the typical worker,” said WSSU Professor Craig Richardson with the Center for the Study of Economic Mobility. The center conducted a study that found long bus routes are resulting in missed opportunities. “Time spent with children, time advancing one’s self with education or working more.”

Over a year, Richardson says the study points out that a typical bus rider is missing out on about $8,000 in missed wages because of their time needed to travel.

“It’s not just about the transit authority which has a big challenge with our urban landscape,” he said. “Our area non-profits need to see how they can plug-in with perhaps company vans or shared rider situations … and hopefully lower that commute.”

In addition to most income the study found more than 49 percent of workers have had to turn down offers for better jobs because of limited bus routes.

“The area employees are telling us they can’t get enough workers. Many of our new employment sites are on the outskirts of the city. They are not close by the areas where they need their workers.”

The trickle down effect goes beyond jobs but to the health of our neighbors.

“On the bus, one can’t take many bags of groceries on the bus and so what happens is food choices change.”

Richards says other cities have used Lyft and Uber to help shorten time and companies have started their own transportation services.

Marshall is trying to save money to buy a car, but that’s going to be hard as WellsFargo is currently training people in India for her job.

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