Well, it happened again recently. The information I was given by Augusta Public Transit was incorrect so I missed the bus for the fourth time in recent memory. I had checked their online map as well as the online bus schedules and followed the directions to a T. Alas, it was not enough. Maybe I should have known better, as there are many discrepancies among the printed route map, the online route schedule and the information people receive when they call APT for assistance.
Ever since I returned to Augusta in early March, one of my prime goals has been to make public transportation more usable in Augusta. Having lived in large and small cities with easy-to-use public transit, various ways to make huge improvements in the virtually unworkable Augusta bus system were easy to see.
Despite my best efforts, the very thing that would make the Augusta bus system more workable overnight -- the placing of the bus routes and schedules on Google Maps -- has been placed on the back burner by the powers-that-be at APT. Given that putting this information on Google Maps, which is a completely free service, would make catching the bus as easy as finding point to point driving directions on Google Maps, this seemed like a zero-cost way to make the bus system more usable. Unfortunately, it's apparently not a priority for APT.
While there are numerous other easy ways to solve problems with APT, the snail-like pace at which they have dealt with the totally free Google Maps is emblematic of the deep-rooted problems at that city department.
I would encourage everyone to go to Google Maps at google.com/maps and see how easy it is to find out exactly how best to use public transportation in Atlanta or Charlotte, N.C., to get around those sprawling cities. If you like what you see, please call Augusta Public Transit and let them know that Augusta deserves nothing less.
Anthony V. Esposito
(The writer is founder of Growing Augusta the GreenWay.)