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City approves transit system contract
Buses that role this fall are expected to be similar to this one that was brought to town for display a couple years ago as the city was preparing for the project. - photo by File photo
Hinesville city buses are still on track to roll in September after the city council approved a contract Thursday with Veolia Transportation.
Veolia will manage Liberty Transit System’s day-to-day operations.  
Bus routes will run through Hinesville and Liberty County, Flemington and Fort Stewart. Planned route stops include Liberty Regional Medical Center, Hinesville City Hall, Fort Stewart and Live Oak Public Library in Hinesville.
Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas suggested city, county and post officials board the buses this fall to try out the new transit system. Veolia estimates buses will cover 120,960 miles in the transit system’s first year, and will climb to 241,154 miles in its second year.
Rachel Hatcher, with the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission, informed council members the city’s eight new buses will arrive in Atlanta on July 15 and be delivered to Hinesville in early August, giving Veolia time to hire and train bus drivers.
A $1,255,952 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus grant funded the bus and equipment purchase. The city has also received grants from Georgia DOT to support the new transit system. Hatcher estimated bus fuel would cost the city $149,830 annually. OMI fueling stations will supply fuel for the transit system. She also told council members Liberty Transit’s start-up costs would be $83,000, or $50.92 per hour in its first year.
Veolia Transportation representatives Mike Ake and Theodis Jackson told the council the company manages transportation systems in Atlanta and Savannah, as well as in other cities across the U.S. Ake is a regional vice president and oversees 29 Southeast contracts. Jackson, a Veolia general manager, will supervise Liberty Transit System’s operations.
The new bus system will employ an office manager, a foreman, three managers-on-duty, a mechanic, a fueler and eight drivers.
Jackson told the council Liberty Transit’s operating facility would be at 220 N. Maple Drive in Hinesville. The 4,200 square foot structure will house office space, maintenance dispatch and driver preparation space. The facility will be secured under a three-year lease, with an option for two additional years.
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