Augusta Bus Riders Association plans day for residents to try public transit system

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The Augusta Bus Riders Association wants residents to experience the public transit system and the “everyday plight” of those who rely on it.

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A group of bus riders is planning a Ride the Bus Day on Monday for area residents.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
A group of bus riders is planning a Ride the Bus Day on Monday for area residents.

The association is planning Ride the Bus Day and inviting residents to board a bus at noon Monday from work or home and meet members of the organization at the Kmart at 3830 Washington Road.

Geraldine Wilson, the coordinator of the association, said the goal is to have as many people ride the bus as possible, then report their experiences to the group.

She called the Augusta bus system unaccommodating, citing long waiting times, confusing routes and a lack of an early-morning route.

“We just want the general public to experience the whole thing,” Wilson said. “Experience the system, experience the drivers, experience the time it takes to get where you’re going.

“We have to leave two or 2 1/2 hours early to get anywhere on time on the bus. On days when it’s really hot, we have to endure it. When it rains, we have to endure it,” she said.

Wilson said that when the data from the day is compiled, the group will present it to the Augusta Commission to advocate for change.

It won’t be Wilson’s first time in front of the commission. In April 2011, she presented it with 23 complaints about the public transit system. In response, three commissioners rode buses around town and, other than a few criticisms, gave the system high marks.

Wilson attributed the positive remarks from the commissioners to their lack of a specific destination.

“They just took a joyride last year,” she said. “We didn’t stipulate that they should have a specific destination to get to and a limited time to get there like someone trying to get to work, so they just rode around town.”


WHAT: Catch a bus at noon Monday to Kmart at 3830 Washington Road.

LEARN MORE: Contact Geraldine Wilson, of the Augusta Bus Riders Association, at (803) 221-1339

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Just My Opinion
Just My Opinion 07/19/12 - 07:36 pm
I never will understand this

I never will understand this sort of thing. The "people" are trying their hardest to tell their local representatives that something doesn't work. The local reps act like they're being concerned and go out for a "joyride" that probably just lasts about 20 or 30 minutes....maybe...and declare there is nothing wrong with the service. Exasperated, the citizens are resorting to have a "Ride the Bus Day" to again plead with their reps to come take another look. Course the reps will just say they've been there and done that, and they're just simply too busy to go on another bus ride! Besides getting the reps to try it again...but doing it UNANNOUNCED!!...what's wrong with the newspaper or one of the local papers doing a story on this?? Think about'd be just like the old days when the reporters actually went out and researched a story instead of it just being spoonfed to them! I challenge the Augusta Chronicle or Channel 12 (I don't think this is up Channel 6 or 26's alley), or even the Metro Spirit to talk with the busriders and come up with an average routine a rider would have, and then choose a rider to take the bus...check everything that the ride is supposed to be. This way the local reps HAVE to do something about this problem once and for all!

gregleopard 07/19/12 - 08:40 pm
Out of Touch Representation

I will second that. Well stated JMO.

joebowles 07/20/12 - 06:21 am
Lack of Information

Just to let you guys know myself and 2 other commissioners took rides last year unannounced.
I took the Wrightsboro Rd (VA) to the mall and back......The bus was within 1 minute of its scheduled time both routes..
My only complaint was that I couldn't bring my coffee on the bus..

I agree the service in terms of # of routes is not the best.....

How do you suggest funding to increase??????? We already spend $4 million of general fund $$$$ to offset the losses.

Fundamental_Arminian 07/20/12 - 10:13 am
A Few Suggestions

    How do you suggest funding to increase??????? We already spend $4 million of general fund $$$$ to offset the losses (Joe Bowles).

Why not do away with transfers so that all links in a trip cost the same? Why not raise fares a little, and why not add a Fort Gordon route, for which there should be good demand?

David Parker
David Parker 07/20/12 - 12:51 pm
"How do you suggest funding

"How do you suggest funding to increase??????? We already spend $4 million of general fund $$$$ to offset the losses."

Well, if the commission would stop voting to spend millions of dollars into boondoggles like the parking deck downtown that should free up plenty of money to spend on buses. It's spilled milk and I'm not crying about it, but c'mon, there are plenty of funds. Heck, the annual financial reviewer found 1.6 million surplus. The funds are not the issue.

quicksteelergirl 07/20/12 - 02:23 pm
It can get better.

The bus should go to where the jobs are. I can't get from my home to my job and I imagine I am not alone. I lived in Columbia and although their bus system was not perfect, I had no problem getting to and from work if I needed to ride the bus. I have to have a car here and I live very close to the Augusta mall and I am less that 4 miles from work. If you want people to ride the bus, you have to make it convenient, not painfully annoying.

BombquishaDavis 07/20/12 - 03:32 pm

A good number of potential bus riders will be where at 12noon on a Monday....?????
WORKING..........what was that about unaccommodating???

BombquishaDavis 07/20/12 - 03:36 pm
the bus routes are shrinking

the bus routes are shrinking and the area is expanding..a bad mix.

Conservative Man
Conservative Man 07/20/12 - 11:34 pm
David Parker nailed it!!

Spend more wisely...But kudos to Joe Bowles..I remember you rode the routes to check out the made an effort to do the research.....good job....

dpresnell 07/23/12 - 06:51 pm
My experience today, July 23, 2012

Waited at the corner of Greene and 3rd for the No. 3 bus, westbound, at 11:45- no bus. Walked back home at 12:45. I've seen a couple of ladies from the neighborhood wait at this corner in the early AM (before 8) to take a bus to work. One of them works at the VA. There's no identifiable bus stop on the street. I never saw a bus in either direction. I was armed with a route map but no schedule. Why does the city throw good money after bad ? Not only does public bus system not go to jobs, it doesn't get folks to grocery stores either !! Try walking with children to the nearest grocery store, Kroger on 15th, from East Augusta or take a bus ??? What about Christ Community Clinic ? How do you get to appt's ? I say, revamp the whole system before wasting anymore $$ on a system that doesn't meet any objective. So what if you can get to the mall(s)? Can you get the necessities of life there on a limited budget ? Where people use public transportation, they are less overweight and more healthy in comparison to others who don't. It's a fact.

N.B. Checked schedules online. Apparently bus stop at 9th and Greene ? Why walk the 5 blocks to get on bus only to then go the same distance approx. to get on another bus. Makes no sense. Doubt that I would have gotten a bus at 9th as I saw nothing coming by....

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