Barker shared a couple of experiences he's had that illustrate some of these hard-to-measure values of public transit. First was about a conversation he had with a friend of his that has a kid with a cognitive disability. The friend told Barker that over the last five years, his kid has been able to hold a job and hasn't been late to work once in those five years thanks to TARC paratransit. "The cost shows up on the ledger, but the benefits don't," Barker stated and asked, what's the value of that kind of impact?
The second story was about a partnership TARC had several years ago with a local urban league that had an educational program that ran after school and then carried into summer. The ID for this program also served as a transit pass; the kids could get to and from the program and they could use TARC to get around town.
At the end of the program, Barker said there was a graduation ceremony and each of the partners with this program were called up on stage and then given a Louisville Slugger bat along with recognition. When Barker from TARC was called up on stage, "The kids went crazy ... it was the first time I felt like a rock star.
"It wasn't about me; we had given them freedom. We had given them mobility."