News 12 at 6 o'clock, December 11, 2007
AUGUSTA, Ga.---For the first time in a long time, the new city budget does not include a cut for the transit authority. But what will that mean along the bus routes?
"It's not reliable," says bus rider Richard Sparrow. "It's more of a back-up system than a main way of getting to and from."
Sparrow suffers from a bone disease that recently forces him to walk with a cane. Trips to the doctor's office are now commonplace. Sparrow says getting back is a headache.
"You want to get home," he says. "You don't want to have to spend 20 to 40 minutes to an hour waiting on something that has suppose to have been there within a reasonable amount of time."
"You have 1,001 reasons to be late," says public transportation director Heyward Johnson. "You got the traffic, you got your riders, you have the other cars, the fast drivers, you have the kids that you have to watch out for, you have trains, you have accidents."
Currently, there are 9 routes. 7 of them have only one bus running.
"I think it needs a lot of help. I think it's on life support and it needs a transfusion really bad," says Sparrow.
There is about $800,000 in the budget to keep services as they are. Mr. Sparrow says that's just not good enough.
"If the citizens want bus service, it starts with the elected officials," says Johnson.
Like Mr. Sparrow, Doris McGhee says there has to be more. "When you complain to the ones in charge it doesn't really seem to do any good because they don't seem to care," she says.
"For citizens that say their commissioners don't listen, I know of one time they did, and if there is 1, there is 2, and if there is 2 there is 3."
That one time Johnson mentioned refers to another bus being added along Washington Road earlier this year. The director says with enough community reaction even more buses could hit the streets.