*Insert Excuses for my absence here!* That aside! I am officially on spring break! Today is St. Patrick’s Day and I was signed up to be on SCAD’s double-decker bus in the parade. Was 100% sure I was going until Siri told me that it was raining outside. The thought of sleeping in a lil’ late and getting some work done later seemed to be the better option. Thought I’d share my final body of work for my Documentary Photography Class. I was very excited to take a photography class (in fact, I’ll be doing another on in the Spring Quarter) and I’ve learned so much. Being able to borrow lenses from school was an added bonus – my next big buy will be a 28 – 200 mm lens 😀 Donations Welcome!
I had so many photos and met so many awesome people along the way but in the end I managed to marrow down to 17 photos that captured the story. For this post however, I used a few extra photos that weren’t in the final.
Historically, public transportation provided a means for persons who could not afford their own transportation to get around town. Buses began to dominate in the 1940’s and soon the streetcars of the 1870’s were but a memory. From its inception, the Chatham Area Transit, CAT has strived to create positive impressions on public transportation. The 1987 arrival of 35 new Gillig buses changed CAT’s buses from being the oldest in the state to one of the newest in the nation. Since that time, they have constantly sought ways to improve the system. 2009 brought an extensive revamping of the system’s image with the creation of a distinct logo, color scheme, website, new bus shelters and benches as well as bicycle racks on all buses. The addition of diesel-electric hybrid buses provided more fuel-efficient vehicles that increased mileage and required less maintenance. The most recent change however, was the opening of The Joe Murray Rivers, Jr. Intermodal Transit Center. According to them, “As our community grows and changes, so does CAT, because transportation is not an end but a means to success.”
A record 4.6 million trips were made in 2011 yet still many people have negative perceptions of the bus and the people who use it, despite the fact that over 83% of riders use CAT to travel to work or to school. Route 31, which services Skidaway/Sandfly, is one of many, however, from the moment I paid my $1.50 and found a seat, I knew there was something special about it. I later realized that it was not so much the bus itself, but the ‘frequent riders’ who, perhaps without even knowing it, added to the character and enhanced my experience of riding the bus. Over the weeks I was able to ride with them, I grew to respect the hardworking individuals who made sure to thank the diver for arriving at their final stop safely, or wish the person next to them, and often times the entire bus, a good day. It was refreshing to see young men respecting the request to give up their seats to the elderly and the well-spoken of ‘southern charm’ shine. Everyone has a story. It may seem simple, but it defines their way of life. I hope that my series will portray the warmth and acceptance extended to me and every rider.