“Freedom to Explore”: Bianca’s Transit Impact Story

Bianca Miles is TRU’s 2020-2021 Wayne State Social Work Intern and a lifelong Detroit bus rider. Using her interest in policy advocacy, Bianca has organized our recent Legislative Roundtables, bringing regional legislators in conversation with riders and other advocates. Bianca has also assisted in bus rider canvassing and with other TRU events. TRU thanks Bianca for her amazing contributions, including this Transit Impact Story.

Young Bianca rides the Dexter route

One of the earliest memories in my life is of my dad holding me while running across the Lodge Service Drive to catch the Hamilton bus for daycare. I was never a morning person, so getting to the bus stop at a timely matter was always a challenge. I was so late, the bus driver and my father had an unspoken agreement that he would stay at the bus stop another 5 minutes for us. I never knew this, I just always remember seeing the bus there waiting for us and that was my introduction to the bus system.

Most of my childhood, my parents did not have reliable transportation to get to work, school, or the grocery store, so we always depended on the bus. Even today, I don’t operate a vehicle. So besides getting rides from friends and family, the bus is still there as an option of transportation. Essentially, riding the bus not only became apart of my daily routine as I came of age but also allowed me to develop a sense of independence

Sights & sounds of Detroit

I enjoyed the freedom of getting up and hopping on the bus to get around the city. It gave me the freedom to explore the city I lived in and showed me the scenic route of neighborhoods that I may not have been familiar with. Getting up on a summer day to go Downtown with my closest friends was always a pleasure. We would plan to meet on the Dexter bus route and enjoy the sounds of the City on the way to the transit center.

Bianca interviews bus riders, 2021

Riding the People Mover is also always a pleasure. Seeing the scenery around the Detroit River and getting off at the Greektown stop to walk on over to the Riverwalk.  I remember on one occasion, I took my niece Downtown on the bus and the People Mover for the first time and it was almost like a brand new world for her. Seeing her experience Detroit in this light felt great to me because I had the opportunity to give my niece an experience that felt common to me but it was new to her.

Being involved with TRU has brought my experience full circle. I went from being a common bus rider to gaining an enrichment of knowledge of how transit is truly an important service for Detroiters. Having an opportunity to advocate for public transit allowed me to give back to a service that has supported me since I was a toddler. I’ve always been a supporter of public transit and the impact it has had on my life always reminds me of why the work I do is important. It’s because of riders like me who depend on organizations like TRU to voice the opinions of the riders.

President of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority