AUSTIN (KXAN) — If you’re on Facebook you may have noticed posts from Capital Metro, profiling riders. They want people to think differently about who rides public transit.
“We kept hearing one common theme, and that was, ‘Transit is great, but it’s not for people like me,'” said Dan Dawson, vice president of Marketing and Communications for Capital Metro. “So that’s what gave me the idea that we needed to do something to try to change hearts and minds.”
They launched the Austin Collective project, bringing on 15 photographers and videographers to help tell the Capital Metro story. It’s based on the social media project Humans of New York, and features real Capital Metro riders. They’re invited to talk about themselves and their connection with public transit.
Austin entertainer Kyleeil is featured in one of the stories.
“Basically in my household it’s me and my mother. As a child we’d jump from place to place, didn’t really have a stable environment. So we’d use Capital Metro as means to get around. It was our transportation,” said Kyleeil.
Damian Flores is one of the project storytellers. “I got excited,” said Flores. “It was an opportunity to practice my craft and get better at my skill.”
Flores is a student with E4 Youth, a nonprofit that works to bridge the gap between underserved youth and creative commercial arts careers.
“I met all kinds of people,” said Flores. “I met artists from Austin, I met officers, security guards, teachers.”
Photographers were paid $2,500 for their work and videographers $5,000. Students that participated were not paid, but completed the project as part of their E4 Youth participation. Money was also spent on some paid advertisements on social media.
Capital Metro says so far reaction online has been mostly positive, with thousands of people watching the videos and many joining the conversation.
“Each image tells a true story. Real rider, real person, real story. Some funny, some sad, some interesting,” said Dawson.
In total there are 197 photos and 10 videos for the project.