Bus riders seek more routes

By: Chris Thomas Email
By: Chris Thomas Email

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.

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  • by driver augusta public transit Location: auguasta on Dec 13, 2007 at 05:10 AM
    you can find a thousand things wrong in the transit dept. hayward johnson can blame anything or anyone but when it all boils down it is leadership. it is evident he is not the pearson to lead the augusta public transit. a performance evaluation audit is in order at augusta public transit, starting with the fleet manager and purshasing clerk and why was over a million dollars in federal grant money for the transit dept. was returned by hayward johnson
  • by transit employee Location: augusta on Dec 12, 2007 at 03:08 PM
    the news media should look deep into the going on at transit, and you would find out the other side of the story, hayward johnson is only trying to protect his eighty five thousand dollards a year job, he does not care one thing about the passengers,drivers. the only employees he takes care of are the ones in shop. get someone else to take his place, and audit of the shop and parts (purshing clerk) should be in order
  • by charles Location: augusta on Dec 12, 2007 at 01:29 PM
    who does heyward johnson think he is fooling. the truth of the matter the $800,000.00 in the transit's budget will go to the employees in the shop and whatever equipment they want, while the drivers have not had uniforms in 18 months and have to buy their own toliet paper and paper towels, fred russell knopwes about this but want do anything about it, johnosn could cut in the shop but he want, they must have something on him as they get anything they want
  • by anonymous Location: augusta on Dec 12, 2007 at 07:48 AM
    we desparately need an upgrade on our bus routes. And at least a 2nd bus in the afternoon for Augusta Mall. Have you seen the numbers of people standing in the aisles in the afternoon runs? No wonder that bus is often late. Extra people, extra stops. They need to add back that several hours of an extra afternoon bus like they did for the Washington Rd. bus. Yesterday morning, between 11 and 12, the bus leaving Augusta Mall to head back to downtown was so full or something, it ran past 4 people at stops without even pausing. That's a great inconvenience to have to wait another full hour to get downtown and then to transfer. What if we were reporting to work? I do appreciate that the bus funds were not cut for 2008 but improvements are really needed for working folks like me.
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