New bus service could be rolling into Augusta

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News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Augusta transit

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A federal judge is forcing the City of Augusta and Mobility to to talk it out. Mobility is suing the city trying to stop a new company from taking over the bus service.

Commissioners could vote tomorrow on a new Texas company that wants a chance to get behind the wheel. Mobility and the City of Augusta will just have to keep talking.

"It's not a win until it's over," said Mobility lawyer Robert Mullins.

Mullins is talking about a federal judge's decision to table the lawsuit between Augusta and Mobility, the company that runs the city's bus service.

He says commissioners violated the Open Meetings Act when they took the vote. City leaders deny it.

"Obviously, there is pending litigation going on. I can't speak about that," said City Administrator Fred Russell.

"Both parties will have to mediate first and then come back to the courts," Mullins said.

Leaders say this lawsuit hasn't stopped anything. In fact, Russell is recommending a company interested in taking over the bus service to Augusta commissioners soon.

"Hopefully, we're able to move forward with that. As you know, the contract runs out soon, and we want to give them room for transition," Russell said.

A few months back, commissioners decided to give Mobility a 90-day notice. Unless a judge intervenes, Mobility's last day behind the wheel will be July 31. Russell won't reveal how much McDonald Transit's bid will cost until commissioners approve it.

"I think this gets the card back on the table. Expansion is always an additional cost, and I think we need to continue to look at that," Russell said.

Federal Judge Randy Hall ordered both sides to mediate before July 15. If the two can't come to an agreement, the lawsuit will continue.

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