Support Systems Helps Close Transit Gaps in Winston-Salem
Courtney and Gregory James offer microtransit services for those in need in Forsyth County.
Sponsored by: Support Systems of Forsyth County
Courtney James envisioned helping people in her community achieve self-sufficiency, but quickly discovered one of the biggest barriers was transportation. “I could help people, get them employed, but they struggled with getting where they had to go,” Courtney says.
She and her husband, Gregory, who had experience in his family’s transportation business in the Northeast, are tackling that challenge. In 2019 they formed Support Systems of Forsyth County to help close transit gaps in their North Carolina community.
With a fleet of 10 vehicles and 12 employees, their microtransit business provides 24/7 transportation for adults to get to work, school and appointments.
Clients’ needs range from medical care to steady employment, court-ordered services mandated by local law enforcement, or assignments with agencies like The Shepard Center and GWS Aspire.
Jeannette Sanchez, Support Systems’ second-ever client, says they’ve transported her nearly every day since 2019 to her job managing a local restaurant.
“They are really nice people, and so accommodating with schedule changes,” she says. “They are like family to me.”
Dravelle Cannady was previously incarcerated and has been a regular client since March 2022. He now relies on Support Systems to help him maintain steady employment, made challenging with no vehicle and a work schedule that doesn’t align with public transportation.
“It’s really important to me,” he says, “and much more cost-effective than other options.”
A Black-owned business, Support Systems works closely with local transit authorities to fill a niche outside regular bus schedules, or taxi or ride-sharing companies. They are a for-profit and for-community business.
“We’ve made our prices reasonable, especially for people trying to get on their feet who depend on our services frequently,” Gregory says. “We provide access to opportunity, and they are so appreciative.”
Courtney is looking to the future, recognizing her home community’s need and her company’s ability to help meet it. “We can make a big impact with our city and county’s support,” she says. “We’ve got a wheel that’s already rolling.”