Augusta, GA – A local group of bus riders called on city leaders to make changes.
Members of Augusta Bus Riders Association want earlier start times, later end times and a shorter wait at the bus stop. They told News Channel 6 there are too many things to do and it’s too hot to wait around trying to do it.
Annette McKie is the spokesperson for the group. She told us, “We need improvements in our bus service.
Augusta Public Transit may take thousands of bus riders where they need to go from day to day, but McKie said it could be better.
“They’re starting too late, leaving too early, no real weekend service,” she said.
McKie told Commissioners buses need to start at five in the morning instead of six, for people who have to be at work by then. She told them buses also need to run until midnight because at this point, their day ends at 6pm when buses go in the garage.
“You can’t even get from south Augusta to Broad Street for some of the entertainment down on Broad Street when they have first Fridays and different things like that,” she explained.
District 5 Commissioner Bill Lockett agrees.
“They’re right. I’ve been on the Commission for five years and transit has been deplorable the entire time I’ve been here.”
All of the Commissioners we spoke with, nearly half, agree with the grassroots group calling for changes.
The members want south and west Augusta connector routes, no smoking at some bus stops, mainly pointing to the K-Mart stop on Gordon Highway. They also want the Fort Gordon route reestablished with better advertisement to communicate with riders.
Marion Williams said buses also need to pick up and drop off riders quicker instead of keeping riders waiting for more than an hour.
Williams, District 9 Commissioner added, “It’s got to be at least every half hour. We can’t expect people to ride the bus every hour and then they don’t know if they missed the bus or not.”
“Transportation is a quality of life issue as well. I think we are on the right path in doing that,” added District 6 Commissioner Ben Hasan.
District 3 Commissioner Mary Davis welcomed the riders’ concerns, but said, “It always comes down to budget and to need so we need to look at both of those issues.”
There were just a few bus riders who spoke to Commissioners at Tuesday’s meeting. No action was taken. But commissioners are hopeful that the new director, who has been in place for two months, can help make the necessary changes.