Due to increasing economic development, a growing population, and more and more people returning to Detroit, the need for a public transit system that works for everyone is more important than ever. Conversely, the most aggressive scientific predictions estimate that we have until the end of 2020 to reduce global climate emissions and keep the earth’s temperature from rising any further, in order to prevent catastrophic consequences.
This means that all of us will have to do our part; however, that shouldn’t also prevent us from still being able to work, run errands, travel or connect with each other and our surroundings. So, how do we do this, while reducing our carbon footprint and not adding additional strain to a rapidly growing economy? We do so, by participating in communal, environmentally friendly, ride sharing services such as our proposed ‘Gaia Transit’ (GT).
GT, an environmentally friendly shuttle service, was conceived by its founders, Jennifer Edwards and Sarah Spoto, following the recognition that in addition to lacking safe, reliable, public transportation, Metro Detroit is also lacking a communal option specifically focused on protecting the environment. Furthermore, the component of experience seems to be missing from all transportation options, whether public or private, as if value and enjoyment are mutually exclusive. This is in stark contrast to the #PureMichigan values of Midwestern hospitality and stewardship of this beautiful Great Lakes State.
With the creation of GT, we would create a network of hybrid transit vans, utilizing the Michigan Central Station as a hub, to transport riders to and around metro Detroit. We would incorporate fringe amenities such as ambient lighting, calming music and a hot towel + complimentary beverage (for longer rides), to ensure that our riders have a pleasant and relaxing experience, while feeling good about reducing carbon emissions. Additionally, we would ensure that our shuttles are ALWAYS on time, rain or shine (much like the bullet trains in Japan), to re-instill confidence in public transit, especially for the rider on their way to work or the airport.
In order to execute this idea, we are seeking $150,000 in grant money to run additional market research, test pilots, adjust learnings, and scale a beta version for the summer of 2020.