Augusta Public Transit causing major issues for bus riders

Wednesday, October 9, 2019
News 12 at 6 o'clock/NBC at 7

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A multi-million dollar public transit building is finished and yet the bus problems appear to be moving along. The new facility is finished and sitting empty.

There's real frustration out on the routes. People tell News 12 they're getting fired from their jobs because they're late. Others are missing doctor’s appointments.

"It says Augusta Public Transit and it should be saying Augusta poor people transit," said Sandra Shomo.

Sandra Shomo rides the bus every day. She says most of the time it's late.

"I've done missed appointments, I've been late," said Shomo.

Sandra is not the only one. Jenna James missed class at Augusta Tech after waiting 40 minutes for her bus.

"I understand there's a lot of people driving cars but you've got to think about the people who don't have a car," said James.

News 12 sat down at one of the transit stops, set a timer, and waited. A bus showed up 20 minutes late.

"I've been late a lot of times. I'm being late today because the busses are running slow. I've got to be there at 12, now where is the bus at,” said Hosui Allen, a bus rider.

The city transit director says they just launched an app, to better keep track of the buses. But people say that's not enough.

"Transportation in Augusta Georgia needs to be more available to us than it is now," said Allen.

"I had to ride my bike downtown every morning because their bus service doesn't start until six in the morning. I start work at 6 a.m.," said James.

"90% of Augusta goes to church. No bus runs on Sunday but the liquor store can open on Sunday. So you're telling me I can't go praise God but it's alright for me to go get drunk," said Shomo.

Another big issue is the condition of these buses.

"They break down like every other week," said Shomo.

The transit director says they're working to replace 3 buses with new ones.

Replacing busses is expensive but so is this. The city just spent $18 million on this facility behind Regency Mall. Once it's open, there will be riders who just want the busses we have on the road to be more dependable and in better condition.