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Bus cuts go into effect, gripes voiced

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POSTED: November 19, 2012 4:00 p.m.
Photo by Randy C. Murray/

Rachel Hatcher, planning director for the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission, talks with Dave Morgan about what changes have been made to the bus system and how he can contribute to any upcoming chages.

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Liberty Transit’s buses ended Friday night and all day Saturday services this week, cuts that were announced earlier this month.
And, Thursday, organizers said they heard complaints about the cuts at a public workshop in Hinesville City Hall.
County residents had an opportunity to learn more about planned service reductions and provide input for how those services will be prioritized, said Rachel Hatcher, planning director for the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission.
“We got to talk with some riders who use the (transit) system a lot,” said Hatcher, who told about a conversation with a rider who relies on the buses to get to and from work. “The proposed changes would have prevented her from getting to work on time, but the route schedule only needed to be adjusted by about five minutes to accommodate her needs. That was the kind of feedback we were wanting to hear from the public.”
Hatcher and transportation planning consultant Whitney Shephard said they got a lot of positive feedback, but admitted some people voiced concerns about the reduction in services. Hinesville resident David Morgan was one of those voicing his concerns.
“It would have worked, but they don’t want it to work,” Morgan said, suggesting the city didn’t try hard enough to keep the transit going at full capacity. “I want it to work because a lot of people need those buses.”
Residents waited in line to talk to Hatcher and Shephard, some wanting complain about the cuts, others wanting to suggest routes and schedules.
Shephard, who works with Savannah engineering services and transportation consulting firm RS & H, also encountered county residents expressing concerns about the reduced services. She said some residents were especially concerned about the end of Saturday services.
She said she tried to explain the decision to cut services was a policy decision. Shephard said she was taking part in the public workshop to provide technical support.
“Overall, I’d say we got a lot of information,” said Shephard, who serves as an on-call consultant for Liberty Transit. “I really appreciated the feedback from (Savannah Tech) students. We need people’s feedback. We really need to know if people need to be at work at a certain time, or if they need to get to a doctor’s appointment.”
Hatcher said the information gathered from the public will help determine the routes and schedule for the modified services, which her office will now begin to implement. Describing her and Shephard’s role in the workshop services as “planning staff for the strategic study,” she said her role now is to oversee the implementation the first level of modified services.
Starting this week, Friday services will end by 6:15 p.m., and there will be no services on Saturday, she said.

 

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