We asked some Lower Ninth Ward residents about the high rate of bus usage in their neighborhood to get the story behind the statistics. Engaging community members, especially those who might be potential clients for your program, can help you understand the complexity of the problem you're trying to address, and tailor your program to the unique needs of the neighborhood.

Here's what the residents we interviewed had to say about taking the bus to work:

17.4% of Lower Ninth Ward workers take the bus to work compared to 12.4% in Orleans Parish overall. What do think accounts for this difference?

People in the Lower Ninth Ward use the bus to get to work because of lack of finances, lack of private cars. You've got to use the bus even though the services continue to be limited. You've got to use the bus because that's the only means you have to get out to make money. There are no jobs here, and there is nowhere you can walk to do things.”
     — 75 year old African American social worker (Fall 2003)

In other parts of the city, a lot of people have the option of walking to their jobs. But on this side, because of the canal, we are separated from the city.”
     — 53 year old African American laborer (Fall 2003)

What effect do you think this has in your neighborhood?

It is just a given that bus riders are away from their families far longer than the person who is driving his own private car. You are on the bus an hour and a half. So if you are working on a job that starts at 8am, you have to leave home at 6:30am.”
     — 75 year old African American social worker (Fall 2003)

Source Citation: “Beyond Data: Straight Talk from some Lower Ninth Ward Residents.” (Fall 2003).  Interviews by Nilima Mwendo and Allison Plyer, Greater New Orleans Community Data Center. <http://www.gnocdc.org> (March 25, 2005).