Lack of bus fare barrier to work

Feb. 5, 2013 at 3:46 PM
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ALBANY, N.Y., Feb. 5 (UPI) -- A New York single mother said a temporary free bus pass made all the difference for her in getting to her job at Macy's at an Albany suburban mall.

Antoinette Elcock, 24, a single mother of a 4-year-old son said she lives 6 miles from her job as a retail clerk at the Colonie Center mall and she could not afford a car, a taxi or even bus fare, so getting a free pass made it possible for her to go to work, the Albany Times Union reported.

"I'm not making a lot of money, so not having to worry about $65 coming out of my pocket made a big difference," she told the Times Union.

Harris Oberlander, chief executive officer of Trinity Alliance of the Capital Region, said about 15 people have been awarded monthly bus passes so far as part of a $5,000 Capital District Transit Authority grant to the non-profit group.

While visiting a food pantry last spring, Elcock discovered several programs to help get her on her feet.

Dickinson said Elcock needed additional help beyond her $550 welfare check and $200 in food stamps -- her monthly rent is $550, which she splits with a roommate.

At Trinity, she enrolled in a high school equivalency diploma program.

Dickinson's program helped Elcock prepare her resume and job skills. She was directed to another non-profit group, Dress for Success, which collects donated professional attire and gives women the beginning of a wardrobe suitable for the workplace.

Elcock said when she puts on her work outfit and heads to her job she feels confident and full of purpose. She said she hopes to study cosmetology, earn a beautician's license, earn an associate degree in business management and eventually open her own hair salon.

After six months of free bus fare and working during a busy holiday shopping season, Elcock said her $8 an hour job was cut back to 12 hours a week, but she is now paying for her own bus fare.

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