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I want to work, but I can't get there, because I don't have the financial means or other obstacles that hinder me from getting employment.

Subscription based shuttle service to get to work, training, or apprenticeships in areas that have limited/access to public transportation.

Photo of Stephanie Morris
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A subscription based shuttle service (this is not a taxi service, you must be enrolled).  Residents would have a reserved seat, designated driver and centeralized pick up and drop off location (HUBS).  HUBS would be broken down by zip codes and work site location. It will be the responsibility of the resident to get and from the HUB.  HUBS are more affordable than door to door service and much safer.  HUBS make the service affordable.  Potential HUBS would be Project Green Light Detroit (safe havens in the metro area).  There are services that do transport people to work, but there is a criteria or eligibility requirements (income, mental/physical impairments, etc.).  Our service is for anyone who wants to get to work, no criteria or eligibility requirements - you just want to get to work.

How will your solution benefit residents, workers, or visitors in the Michigan Central Station impact area? (1,000 characters)

Our solution would benefit the residents and workers of the City of Detroit, who don't have transportation but want to work. Most residents want an opportunity, not a hand out. However, they have obstacles, be it, they can't afford a reliable vehicle, the can't afford the HIGH cost of our insurance, they have issues with their license, or don't have a license. Our solution would also benefit employers by reducing their employee turnover, cost of retraining employees and they would be able to retain good, dependable employees, who would otherwise lose their job due to the lack of reliable transportation. Prior to starting our transportation service, we did research and learned that most people either lost their job, did not seek employment, or did not complete their training/apprenticeship programs due to lack of reliable, affordable and safe transportation (followed close behind by the high cost of child care).

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Initial Design - you are still exploring the idea and have not tested it with users

Insights from previous testing (500 characters)

Our idea has not been tested. Over the last year or so, we have met with numerous employers, who understand the value of the service. The problem is who is going to pay for the service (the employee, the employer or shared cost). The employers tell us that their employees can't afford the service and the employer doesn't want to pay for the service. A few years ago, there were federal and state incentives for employers who shared the cost of transportation, by getting tax credits.

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

website - Stephanie Morris - team leader - owner of Very Special Van Service Taria Morris - office manager Susan Williams - operations manager Scott Bridgewater - presenter Marsha Cheeks - presenter

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Team or Organization URL

Are you submitting as a student team?

  • No

Are you submitting as a team from the Impact Area?

  • No

Funding Request

  • $250,000

Rough Budget (500 characters)

Insurance - 1000-1500/month/per vehicle (10-15 passenger vehicles) Drivers - $ 12.50 - $ 15.00 per hour Dispatchers - $ 10.00 - $ 12.50 per hour Management - $ 25.00 - $ 30.00 per hour Mechanic - on an as needed basis - depends on the mechanical problem Office staff - $10.00 - $ 15.00 per hour Gas - varies - $ 500/month/per vehicle Maintenance/repairs - varies Vehicles - $ 4000 - $ 6000 - used ambulatory and/or wheelchair accessible Marketing - $ 1500 - 2500

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

A few months ago I attended the Pure MI Supplier event at the Outdoor Adventure Center. I was sought out by one of the contract specialist of a major health organization, who liked by idea. I would reach out to them to see if we could pilot my idea with their organization. During the pilot phase we would: - look at numbers (how many people are we transporting) - seek feedback from the passengers and employers - measure our performance - start a waiting list (employees and/or employers who want to use our service) -identify areas that need improvement - adjust as needed Resources - we would use current staffing and equipment (we do have 14 passenger mini bus, which as of today, is available for the pilot). There will be a need to purchase a used vehicle (ambulatory or wheelchair). We would meet with employers and/or staff to gather interested parties and determine cost structure (who pays for service, employer, employee or shared between employer and employee).

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

We would measure success by: - the number of residents/employees we are transporting; - the number of employees on the waiting list; - the number of employers interested in the program - waiting list; -compare numbers (reduced turnover in employees/employee retention, on time performance, reduction in absenteeism and/or tardiness in employees); and -reduce employer cost in training and retraining

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

Yes, our idea is sustainable. One of the main reasons, that Amazon declined to have a headquarters in Metro Detroit was due to lack of reliable, affordable transportation. The success of our idea can be duplicated in schools, training programs and new businesses. It could be an excellent marketing tool for new business - we have a transportation provider who specializes in getting residents to/from work, on time/safe. Modest rate of $ 10.00 - $ 12.50 round trip daily to employees/employers.

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Photo of Rieanna Stewart

The proposal for reliable, sustainable, and dependable transportation for employees, especially employees in the city of Detroit, is a need that would be very helpful for many Detroit businesses and the surrounding neighborhood. This would also ensure neighborhood stimulation and support the city's workforce directly. A bonus is Very Special Van Services outstanding service and vast knowledge of the city's streets. We have utilized Stephanie's services for our company since the beginning, and consider her one of our most dependable vendors. I think it would be very interesting and a huge value add, to have this program piloted for Michigan Central Station employees and the surrounding city proper residents.

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