‘Some people can’t get to work’: The frustrations of Augusta Transit

Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 6:35 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - When you look at the public transit system in Atlanta, over 500,000 people use Marta every day.

Here in Augusta, that number is not nearly as big, but thousands still ride.

“It’s aggravating. Because a lot of businesses are hurting because some people can’t get to work,” said Shameka, a South Augusta resident.

Shameka lives at the southernmost bus route Augusta transit offers.

She used to be a rider for more than eight years, but eventually learned how to drive and saved up for a car. So, she could make it to work on time and take care of her kids.

This is despite leaving home for work around 6:30 a.m. or 7 a.m.

“Depending if you catch that right bus on time, you may get to your job site by 9 a.m., 9:30 a.m.,” she said.

From point A to point B, it’s a 15-minute drive to her cleaning job.

But with the way the transit system is shaped, she has to switch to four different routes, creating a trip that takes an hour and a half if she gets to every stop without a hitch.

Deputy Director of Augusta Transit, Oliver Page, said: “We aim to serve those people living in South Augusta that do not have access to our public transit, nor do they have a personal vehicle.”

With microtransit, Augusta Transit hopes to not only expand access but potentially help to create more direct routes.

It would be like a rideshare service but keep a cheap fare and prevent more people, like Shameka from missing their stop.

Shameka said: “Paying someone to take you to work and pick you up when some people are just a single-family household. So that $20 a day could’ve gone to $20 for a meal.”