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New Augusta bus manager ready to roll

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There’s a new Augusta Pub­lic Transit manager in town, and Quentarus “QT” Brown says he’s here to stay.

Quentarus "QT" Brown took command of Augusta Public Transit a few weeks ago and has plans for improvement.   TODD BENNETT/STAFF
TODD BENNETT/STAFF
Quentarus "QT" Brown took command of Augusta Public Transit a few weeks ago and has plans for improvement.

Brown, who is buying a new house in the city’s Laney-Walker redevelopment project, is fresh off a job as a transportation services manager for George Wash­ington University. He said he’s ready to put down roots in Augusta as the new general manager for McDonald Transit.

The Augusta Commission voted last month to award the city’s transit contract to Fort Worth, Texas-based Mc­Donald to replace Mobility Transit, with which the city remains in litigation.

Brown said he wasn’t up to speed on details of the city’s struggles with Mobility and didn’t need to be. He said his role for the past two weeks has been to conduct “the quickest transition in history” while ensuring no interruption in service.

Transportation is a lifelong pursuit for Brown, a Kanna­polis, N.C., native who interned with the North Carolina Department of Trans­por­tation before college, then joined the staff of Charlotte Area Transit as a manager-in-training and associate planner after graduation. He helped extend a park-and-ride bus service from Charlotte to several surrounding counties, he said.

He describes seeing a mother waiting with her child for a bus during his morning drive to work.

“As I ride home, I see that same woman with her child,” he said. “Transportation is a long day, so we have to be dependable and safe.”

Bus safety is a priority, particularly in the age of headphones that prevent pedestrians from hearing an approaching bus, Brown said. Also important is the safety of bus transfers, and he hopes to work with the sheriff’s office to increase security around the Broad Street transfer station.

While some commissioners and citizen groups are pushing to expand Augusta’s system into south and west Augusta, Brown said that would take time. For now, he’ll spend the next few months evaluating ridership and other data to set a “benchmark” for assessing the program’s potential for growth, he said.

Brown has driven, repaired and dispatched buses and spent time “dressed down,” checking out Augusta’s system before introducing himself to staff. The good news: “The transportation was clean, the drivers were professional; they were safe drivers,” he said.

That doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement. Brown is ready to take the system “from the Flintstones era to the Jetsons … We’re trendsetters here,” he said.

His management style is “listen first” and he’s prepared to listen to anyone who has thoughts about the service – employees, riders, the city’s reformed transit advisory board. He plans to use Twitter to answer complaints and questions.

He grew up with a sister who relied on paratransit services, so he’s ready to make sure that part of the system is going strong.

He’s also into outreach, and hopes to start a rider newsletter, “Stuff the Bus” charity programs and even an APT beauty pageant, Brown said.

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kc fan
158
Points
kc fan 08/12/13 - 11:41 am
2
0
Paratransit

Big rave to this part of transit system. They transport my son every week. Only suggestion I have is that you would be permitted to make standing reservations for a longer period of time. You can only make them for 2 weeks now. If you could make them for the month, that would be ideal. If not they still do a great job of transporting him around town!

countyman
20631
Points
countyman 08/12/13 - 01:27 pm
3
0
Public transportation

We desperately need to expand our local public transportation system. The number of major companies were losing out on landing, because of this is undeniable.

kayejo
2
Points
kayejo 08/22/13 - 10:38 pm
0
0
OMG! Do you all do background checks?

OMG! Did this transit system do a background check on their new GM? Fired from several transit jobs after only a few months and claiming to manage a non-existent transit system definitely brings brings into play his honesty. I feel sorry for the city of Augusta Transit system. It's not Libel because TRUTH is an affirmative defense!

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