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Bus service discussed at open house
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Currently known as a concept only, the Hinesville-Flemington-Fort Stewart transit system is inviting the public to learn more about the planned bus system during a drop-in open house between 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 28.
Brandon Wescott, city transit coordinator, is hoping to host an informal, “very approachable event.” People will be able to get their questions answered.
“I don’t want to talk to people,” Wescott said. “I want to listen to people.”
Various pertinent information, including route maps and pick-up times from the draft operations plan will be available.  
Wescott encourages everyone interested to attend, even if they don’t live in the transit’s participating cities or near any of the proposed routes.
“Maybe at some point the bus system will stand to provide service in those locales,” he said. “At some point, they could stand to benefit from what we’re doing right now.”
Theodis Jackson, general manager of Veolia that has been hired to provide the system, will also be at the open house.
Even before being selected by the city, Jackson said the company “had its feelers out,” conducting research and analyzing Hinesville’s traffic flow to see how to provide transportation.
“I’d like for them (the public) to know that we’re here and that we’re going to work with the community to make this transportation as comfortable, safe and reliable as possible,” Jackson said.
He and Wescott said feedback could be used in the future.
“I think what it’ll do, it’ll build public trust and public loyalty in what we’re going to accomplish here,” Wescott said.
“The input is going to be vital at one point, whether it’s good, bad or indifferent,” Jackson said. “I think we’ll take it all in.”
Once buses are running, Jackson said he will be looking to see how the system is received by the community.  
“If it grows by leaps and bounds, then we have an obligation to the community to make a change,” he said.
Wescott said there is still a lot of planning to do before bus roll in December.
The city is waiting on a grant from the state to buy the buses, but Wescott assures “it’s coming.”
The city will use the state contract to negotiate a deal from National Bus Sales and Leasing for the buses.
“That state contract is available to all local governments and many, if not most, of the local transit agencies in Georgia buy off that contract,” he explained.
With nearly 30 years of experience in transportation, Jackson feels Hinesville will adjust well to a system.
“I’m excited and I think you guys will do fabulous,” he said. “Once it gets out and transportation starts to flow...I think it’ll do well.”
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