News > No Wheels, No Job, No Money: What is Transportation Insecurity?
Imagine not knowing when—or if—you can get to work, go food shopping, or get to a doctor’s appointment. Having no control over your transportation makes scheduling impossible and day-to-day living chaotic. Most of us have had to live without our tried and true options for transportation for a day or so and that is tough!
Experiencing transportation insecurity means not ever being sure—whatever your mode of transportation—that you will have a timely, reliable way to get to work and to the other places you and your family need to go.
Transportation insecurity can be the result of having no car, having an unreliable car, or sharing a car. It can also result from an inability to afford public transportation such as a bus or train, or lack of easy access to public transportation. Maybe the bus does not run consistently enough that you can count on it, or the schedule does not fit your work hours.
For low-wage economically fragile workers, a lack of affordable housing, especially close to the workplace, can exacerbate transportation insecurity with extra wear on cars that are older models and already have high mileage.
In an earlier blog post, we write about the flat tire calamity. The classic example of an economically fragile person is someone who has a flat tire. For many of us, a flat tire is merely an annoyance or an inconvenience. For someone who is experiencing transportation insecurity, a flat tire can be a genuine catastrophe. At a minimum, it is an unexpected expense setting off a chain reaction that can lead to no wheels, no money and no job.
A study completed by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) showed that employers spend approximately 6 to 9 months of an employee’s wages to replace them. The cost to fix a flat tire for an existing, trained employee is a few hundred dollars and easily pays for itself in employee retention.
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