By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Kristal Bush has early mornings, and late nights.

She and her fleet of vans are on the road four days a week, picking up moms, dads, sons, and daughters, and driving them to see family members behind bars.

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“Some trips are as close as SCI Graterford, which is 45 minutes away,” says Bush, “others are up to five hours away.”

Bush started Bridging the Gap, LLC, a door to door prison transportation service, in 2012. And over the past five years, it’s become her passion.

“I can relate to almost everyone that gets in my van,” she says, “because all of the men in my family are incarcerated.”

Bush says her brother is serving 18-to-20 years behind bars. She also has an uncle, cousins, and friends all serving time in prisons scattered throughout Pennsylvania.

In addition, Kristal’s father has been on the inside for 24 of her 27 years of life.

“My whole life I knew he was in prison,” she says, “I got used to the birthday cards and little pictures he’d send, the calls– and for most of my life, I thought it was normal.”

When Kristal got old enough to drive to see her father, she took others with her in a carpool. Pretty soon, the demand became overwhelming.

“The calls kept coming, so I got a van,” she says, noting that her original plan was to become an attorney. “But I wasn’t supposed to be doing this.”

As demand increased, Kristal decided to create her company and it grew. Now she has four vehicles, transporting dozens of people each week to more than 17 prisons across Pennsylvania.

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“Driving up in the mountains is sort of like my therapy,” says Bush, “it’s how I cope with incarceration.”

Kristal Bush at a book bag giveaway. (credit: Bridging the Gap LLC.)

Kristal Bush at a book bag giveaway. (credit: Bridging the Gap LLC.)

The visits also help those on the inside cope with their confinement. Bush says frequent visits result in less trouble for inmates and a brighter outlook on life.

“The more we go up, the more my family members stay out of trouble,” she says, “we just encourage them- and before you know it, the time flies by.”

Bush’s father was recently paroled and hopes to be released soon. Her visits kept them connected. And the visits she facilitates through her companies keep other families connected as well.

Reporter: “How does it make you feel when you see families reunite?”

Bush: “I’m like yes– we did that! We were able to do that- keep them connected in spite of distance, in spite of incarceration or whatever.”

Bush charges anywhere from $25 to $70 for a trip, depending on the distance, and kids ride for free.

She also started a non-profit, Strengthening Families, that hosts backpack giveaways, after-school programs, and community days that bring families impacted by incarceration together.

“I switched a negative into a positive,” says Bush, “I am sharing my story- yes all the men in my family are incarcerated- but I still went to college, I still bought a house, I’s still doing all of this– I am using all of this as motivation.”

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For more about Bridging the Gap LLC, go to