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New management company takes over city transit service

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 7:00 PM
Last updated Thursday, Aug 1, 2013 2:16 AM
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Riders aren’t expected to notice any change, but a new bus company takes the reins of Augusta’s fleet today.

Passengers disembark an Augusta Public Transit bus at Kmart on Gordon Highway. McDonald Transit takes over the bus system today.  TODD BENNETT/FILE
TODD BENNETT/FILE
Passengers disembark an Augusta Public Transit bus at Kmart on Gordon Highway. McDonald Transit takes over the bus system today.

McDonald Transit, hired by the Augusta Commission in a 6-4 vote July 16, assumes management of the city’s bus, paratransit and rural transit at an annual contract price of $4.3 million its first year, $4.4 million its second year and $4.5 million its third year, according to a cost proposal obtained by The Augusta Chronicle.

The Fort Worth, Texas, company – owned by the international transit group RATP – operates public transportation systems across the U.S., and has annual contracts worth more than $1 million in Edmond, Okla., Colorado Springs, Colo., Asheville, N.C., Austin, Texas, and three national parks.

McDonald has proposed to cut the city’s annual transit bill by reducing annual maintenance, equipment and administrative costs and eliminating a position, according to the proposal. The proposal also appears to show a slight hourly pay hike for 12 bus operators, to $13.68.

The details weren’t as important as a ride to Julissa Carter, who was waiting for a bus on Broad Street Wednesday afternoon. The New York transplant said she wished her 15-minute trip to Peach Orchard Road didn’t take more than two hours by city bus.

“They have no consideration for the working people,” Carter said, grateful for the free rides available to college students.

Expanding the service south and west has been a priority for several members of the commission who preferred bringing it back in house to hiring McDonald, but the transit contract doesn’t provide for any expansion.

City Administrator Fred Russell, however, said he’s asked McDonald to present “a plan” for expanding the service in about 60 days.

McDonald replaces Mobility Transit Services, which filed suit against the city after its contract was terminated, alleging violations of the city’s procurement policy and the state’s Open Meetings Act, among others. Both parties recently emerged from court-ordered mediation with no settlement, and Augusta continues to allege Mobility owes the city $199,134 for bus parts.

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soapy_725
43963
Points
soapy_725 08/01/13 - 07:00 am
0
0
Those pesky contracts and record keeping will be the death of
Unpublished

Those pesky contracts and record keeping will be the death of

soapy_725
43963
Points
soapy_725 08/01/13 - 07:03 am
0
0
Management Skills ruled racist & unnecessary in ARC Government
Unpublished

Management Skills ruled racist & unnecessary in ARC Government

validPoint
982
Points
validPoint 08/01/13 - 12:32 pm
1
0
Expanded Services Needed.

It would be a good thing to be able to ride the bus sometimes, although my presonal transportation is more than adequate. The only places i have been able to "spot" the bus is on Walton Way and Washington Road. Evidently based on the photo, it does travel on the KMart end of Gordon Highway. However, I am on the other end near but not in Grovetown. Also, it would be a good thing to see a mass transit bus schedule published, or at least information about where one can be obtained. A greater option to ride the bus really should be offered. The city of Augusta is definitely large enough

Duende
9
Points
Duende 08/02/13 - 09:24 pm
1
0
Get Augusta Moving!Hephzibah,East,West,South

If you want see Augusta grow economical get people moving!. A bus line should run frequently with more buses on the same route. Routes should be broken down. There should be bus lines in Hephzibah too. Get people working get people to work. Get the bus lines moving then think about a rail system that got a park and go through out the city that reaches out to Wrens . Hephzibah ,Washington Rd. Which of course with start down town. you people are playing. Augusta is a mostly black city and having a way for these teenagers to look for jobs and to jobs with give a better of chance of them being out the streets. Trying to build Augusta. Transportation is the factor

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