Longer waits in store for Augusta bus riders

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December 1, 2006

People who ride Augusta's buses aren't happy today.

Now, the buses will run less frequently, and some shuttles are gone completely.

While commissioners decided not to raise the fares, three buses were eliminated from Washington Road, the Augusta Mall and on the east Augusta routes...which means riders can expect an even longer wait.

Getting around town on Augusta's transit system isn't always easy, especially when you have an extra set of wheels of your own.

"It's hard for the disabled people," Krishna Goel told News 12. Krishna must use a walker in order to walk.

She doesn't let it stop her from doing what she loves, so she volunteers at Fort Discovery whenever she can.

Even if it means waiting two hours for a bus just to get there.

"I'm not a person to sit around and do nothing," she said.

And getting there is half the battle.

From where she lives on Walton Way, she has to catch one shuttle to get to the transfer station and another to go downtown.

"The shuttle goes right in front of Fort Discovery."

But today she learned that shuttle won't be rolling by there anymore.

"I was really mad," she said.

On Thursday, Augusta commissioners passed a $700,000 budget cut on the transit system.

The only route eliminated was the one Krishna relied on to get downtown.

"How are we going to have a better life here?"

Augusta Transit Director Heyward Johnson says in order to meet the city's budget, they had to cut the routes less traveled...and downtown was one of them.

"Any time we look at cuts, we look at ones with the lowest people," he said.

Augusta transit officials say other routes still exist downtown, but they only travel down Broad Street.

For a person who doesn't have the luxury of walking on her own, it's an extra step Krishna can't afford.

"That means I have to sit at home in my little apartment," she said.

To try to prevent more of these cuts down the road, transit officials tell us they're trying to enact a bill this year that will allow citizens to vote on a transportation tax that would help pay for things like roads, bridges and the transit system.