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Capital Metro Documents its Riders


One common barrier to taking transit in Central Texas is the misconception that “people like me don’t ride.To counteract this perception, Capital Metro, the Austin area’s transit agency, recently teamed up with some of the city’s most talented photographers and filmmakers to bring the stories and transit experiences of some of its riders to life. Over the past year, the 15 artists interviewed and captured on film riders on board buses and trains, and at stops and stations. Some of the artists were driven by the distinctive characters they encountered, others by conversations that led to compelling stories.

Out of the work produced and the stories collected, Capital Metro developed The Austin Collective social media project to showcase the idea that all kinds of people take transit, and for a variety of reasons. The stories are a peek into the intimate, daily lives of Austinites — shop owners, baristas, entrepreneurs, cooks, students, construction workers, farmers, musicians and mothers. While the project is a direct, authentic reflection of the city’s riders, it’s also a reflection of Austin’s diversity and uniqueness.

If you think this project sounds or looks familiar, it may be because you’re thinking of The Humans of New York or even the Workers Progress Administration (WPA) and Farm Security Administration (FSA) projects. The Austin Collective was designed with those previous projects in mind, but with a local transit focus.

During the next few months, we’ll include a story from The Austin Collective in each issue our newsletter, beginning with this video of Craig. If you’d like to see more rider stories, visit The Austin Collective on Tumblr at theaustincollective.org.

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