Greenville poetry project supports public transportation.

There is poetry behind a Greenlink project designed to impact lives through access to reliable transportation.

Greenville public transportation system provided nearly 700,000 rides to city residents in 2022, the transit service says. Sixty percent of riders utilize the services at least five days a week, mostly to get to work and run errands.

Through a partnership with Greenville Poet Laureate Glenis Redmond, local poets conducted interviews with seven Greenlink bus riders to form the "Greenlink Poetry Project." The poets used their stories to inspire a collection of poems around the theme "Why I Ride." Through poetry, officials hope to create an understanding of why public transit matters to its riders.

"One thing I think of when I think about this project is I think poetry is everywhere," said Redmond. "Poetry is not just for poets. It's for everyone. Every day we walk out our door there is a poetic moment that happens. The poet is just the person who stops and jots it down. When we stop to tell our stories, that's when the walls come down. That's when we meet each other in upside times, when we think the world is on fire. Stories become that still place, our center. May you always find the poetry in your lives."

Greenville Mayor Knox White grew up riding the city bus, and he said what he remembers most about it is the sense of community.

"There was always a lot of chatter and people talking to each other," he said. "That's why this project touched me. We can tell the stories of the people who ride the bus, put a face and a name, and a story behind it."

White said that in 2007, the city's bus system was facing bankruptcy for the second time. That meant that all buses would shut down.

"Under city leadership at the time, we realized we needed to do something completely different," White said...

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