How $1.4 million grant is making Augusta buses more accessible

Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 7:26 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - There are more than 100 bus stops in Richmond County that are not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, meaning those with disabilities struggle to use them.

We went to one bus stop in Augusta that was not ADA accessible. There was no way for wheelchair users to get up the stairs and under the cover for protection from the rain.

There was also no sidewalk in front of the bus stop.

“Many of our bus stops are very, very old, maybe decades old, and back then there were no ADA requirements,” said Oliver Page, Augusta Transit deputy director.

If you’re a bus rider, on rainy days, a shelter to shield the rain makes a difference but some riders can’t get under it.

“The bus stop could be better,” said Stanley McCullum, who rides the bus daily.

He’s witnessed riders with disabilities face challenges at the stops, and because of his arthritis sometimes requiring him to use a walker, he’s had a few challenges of his own.

“A lot of us can’t stand at the bus stops, we have to find a place to sit over there, wait on the bus, and hope that the bus doesn’t pass us by,” he said.

The bus stops are missing sidewalks for access, shelters for cover, signs for guidance, and landing pads for wheelchairs.

“So, we are embarking on a program to bring the majority of our bus stops up to an acceptable level,” said Page.

The $1.4 million grant will kick it off. Augusta Transit is mostly funded by federal agencies and grants. which requires ADA guidelines to be followed. Little funding has set Augusta bus stops back decades, so now they’re playing catch up.

“1.4 million may sound like a lot of money,” said Page.

But it’s not. It could take tens of thousands of dollars just to bring one bus stop to compliance.

“It’s gonna take several years,” said Page.

Augusta Transit has to work with the engineering department to make the repairs, building sidewalks, and landing pads if needed.

This grant is just the start. They hope that you’ll see changes are bus stops by the end of the year.

“So now we have this opportunity of bringing these bus stops up to ADA compliance,” said Page.

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