Public transportation is essential to our quality of life. For people of color, it was a rallying cry for the civil rights movement because riding a bus or a train often was the only way people with limited income could go to work, doctor’s appointments, church and take care of business. Mobility is as necessary today as it was then.
The Jacksonville Transportation Authority’s (JTA) commitment to giving our diverse customers, employees and stakeholders the best that we’ve got is evident in all that we do. Just as we have developed programs and initiatives to make the public transportation experience more pleasant for daily commuters, we have tried to provide a valuable lifeline to those living in poverty or experiencing homelessness.
To help combat the recent increase of food deserts in Jacksonville, the JTA recently relaunched a produce market at the new Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center (JRTC) at LaVilla. Operated by Abundant Harvests, a local minority-owned farm, the market has fresh produce, herbs, spices, vegetables, and their signature blend of pecan coffee. The market is open to the public every Friday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
During the holidays, the JTA distributes food baskets to bring comfort and joy to Jacksonville families.
In 2019, the JTA partnered with the Mayor’s Downtown Homeless Task Force, the Salvation Army, Changing Homelessness, the Clara White Mission, our partner – the Sulzbacher Village for women in transition – and other nonprofits to take an innovative approach to help Jacksonville’s homeless population and families. The multifaceted services the JTA supported included:
- Opening an “Urban Rest Stop” at Sulzbacher Village to enable people without homes to take showers, wash their clothes and obtain job counseling, daily. The JTA also donated $15,000 to help transport people from Clara White to Sulzbacher.
- Donating laundry detergent and bath soap for showers at the rest stop.
- Collecting business attire for Sulzbacher clients. More than 60 bags of clothing were donated by Dress for Success.
- Providing free transportation to Sulzbacher clients from the transition facility to hotels to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Partnering with FarmShare, the City of Jacksonville and MV Transportation to transport more than 60,000 pounds of food to residents at 10 Jacksonville public housing communities.
- Opening a new clothing closet for the children and families at Northwest Legends Elementary School.
- Providing $100,000 worth of one-day JTA bus passes to eligible nonprofits for their clients through the JTA Ride Program.
We support the local community by employing a golden rule many of us learned as children: treat others as we would like to be treated. With our mandate to provide five-star customer service in every interaction, we pledge as transit providers to:
- Treat everyone with dignity and respect, regardless of socioeconomic status.
- Incorporate outreach officers with law enforcement to connect individuals to services.
- Align transit service with social service destinations.
- Partner with local municipalities and the private sector to identify funding opportunities to help the homeless.
- Develop creative solutions that do not require funding.
To learn more about JTA services and how we support the community, visit our website jtafla.com.