My Transit Story: Supporting Local Entrepreneurship

A guest blog from Transportation Riders United Board President, Donald Stuckey, a small business owner and lifelong transit rider

Coming home after a photo shoot

As a photographer, I enjoy working with my clients in providing the images that they are asking for. This requires me to get around the region to local parks and other venues for these different photo sessions. A public transit system that provides access across the region to local parks, banquet halls, and other venues where my clients want to have their photo sessions is key to helping me keep my travel costs to a minimal.

Like many other photographers, I have to factor in the cost of travel when choosing a location for a photo session. Oftentimes it may be a loss to take a photo session for a client if they are located in an area that will substantially increase my travel costs. These costs can be substantially reduced depending on the mode of transportation that I choose to take for any individual photo session.

In a recent photo session, my clients asked for the shoot to be in downtown Detroit. By car there and back, I would have had to pay an average of $5-10 in gas. Then I would have needed to add in the cost of parking–depending on where, it could run $10 or more. An alternative option would be to take a Lyft or Uber. At current rates, I would pay $20 both ways. I ultimately went with catching public transportation. It cost me $2 to get there and $2 to get home.

I think that many entrepreneurs would love more scenarios where they can reduce their overhead costs such as travel. A strong regional public transit system creates more opportunities to keep travel costs to a minimum and use those savings to spend locally. If using transit was an option for more entrepreneurs in our region, our overall economy in Metro Detroit would benefit.

Without public transit, it will be very difficult for me to pursue photography as a viable small business opportunity.