February 7, 2007
AUGUSTA, Ga.---Some Augusta bus routes were cut last month because of budget worries.
Now some passengers complain that's led to overcrowding. They say the buses are so packed sometimes that some people are sitting on the floor...and city leaders know that is a liability.
Hundreds of people in Augusta depend on public transit to get to work and school.
But according to many riders, finding a seat now is difficult.
Since the Commission voted to cut the transit budget last year, most routes now run an hour apart instead of 30 minutes.
Sarah Nabb says it's meant waiting much longer.
"Sometimes two or three hours," she said.
Of greater concern are jam-packed buses during peak hours.
Commissioner Marion Williams tells us he's received many complaints of riders sitting three to a seat, the elderly having to stand, and even people sitting on the floor.
Sarah says she's seen it.
"People standing up, hold onto the bars, people sitting on the floor," she said.
Of course, sitting on the floor is a liability for the city.
We spoke to Commissioner Don Grantham. He's chairman of the committee that oversees the bus service.
"We need to direct our drivers and the people who control those buses that once they fill up, they should not take anyone else on that bus, to limit the liability we could have," Commissioner Grantham said.
But riders like Lillian Smith say there's a simple solution: "They should have back the second buses, as for at least some of the rush hour traffic in the afternoon."
"We may add one bus back in a morning route, or we may add one back in an evening route, but I don't know until we discuss it," Grantham said.
We spoke with Col. Powell with the sheriff's office. He says there is no law preventing riders from sitting on the floor, but he says it is unsafe
But because of our story today, Commissioner Grantham has placed this overcrowding issue on the Commission's agenda for discussion.