40 Under 40 Inspiring Innovators Fab 5 Winner
Reliable transportation used to be an obstacle for Auna Tyson. As a single woman, the walk from the MARTA station to her apartment was a daunting task, especially after dark. With no bus that connected the two and only cost-prohibitive rideshares options available, she knew there had to be a better solution. Seeing the impact transportation affordability and accessibility have on marginalized individuals, the former financial analyst took Atlanta’s transportation problem into her own hands and created Strive Transit, a micro-transit alternative fuel company that’s transformed the way Atlantans get around their communities.
Why is it important to redefine our standard of mobility with environmentally friendly transit systems?
Auna Tyson: Over 500,000 people depend on standard and public mobility around Metro Atlanta. More than 50% of commuters drive to work, school and main events every day in gas-fueled vehicles resulting in traffic congestion and combustion from these fuels, which affects our air quality, farm production and water consumption. Transportation using clean energy drastically reduces emissions, providing efficient ways to get from A to B while positively contributing to the environment.
How has your “Sponsor a Ride” feature aided Strive Transit in dismantling the transportation barrier for Atlanta communities?
Auna Tyson: To date, we provide transportation in nine marginalized neighborhoods. We transport seniors, young adults and families who do not meet the average median income and cannot afford the rising cost of transportation along with their living expenses. In May 2018, Strive Transit developed the Courtesy Ride program sponsored by The City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Resilience to help connect people to resources, workforce development programs, fresh food markets and youth centers to decrease transit barriers.
For over five years, you’ve connected various people and resources with your services. What are your hopes for the next five years?
Auna Tyson: Our goal is to expand Strive Transit to other municipalities and cities around the country. We’re launching our “Go Strive” alternative fuel initiative, educating and teaching people about the importance of clean energy sources and protecting the natural environment for a healthier future.
Running a business, especially one like Strive Transit, that helps so many people can be physically and emotionally draining. What do you do to recharge?
Auna Tyson: I have a small family, a three-year-old daughter who is the highlight of my life and has given me a greater appreciation for my work and passions. The love she gives has grounded me in ways I can’t even describe. I enjoy spending as much time as I possibly can with her. I am also a health and wellness enthusiast, I work out consistently, and many do not know that I have a background in aerialism. Recently I started re-training to become a professional aerialist and figure skater. Since the pandemic, I have prioritized self-care and creating time to study, travel and learn new things.