The Liberty Transit System implemented a new route schedule March 4 as result of a strategic-planning study conducted by the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission from March-December 2012. The new route included Savannah Technical College on Airport Road, but it did not run the full length of Airport Road.
During the March 7 city council meeting, 4th District Councilman Keith Jenkins asked the LCPC to conduct an initial route-extension analysis that included a revision of the new schedule. The proposed revised schedule would include all of Airport Road.
“The Liberty Transit System implemented significantly modified routes ... as recommended in the Liberty Transit Strategic Study,” said Rachel Hatcher, planning director for LCPC and the Hinesville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. “The revised service met the goals of expanding the transit service area with a budget reduction of over 50 percent. Service currently terminates at Cypress Bend Mobile Home Park on Highway 196/E.G. Miles Parkway.”
Hatcher said an initial route-extension analysis was performed by her staff under the direction of Mayor Jim Thomas and the city council. She said Jenkins, whose district includes much of Airport Road, described the route that was to be analyzed, and directions were given to her staff to analyze “westbound on Highway 196/E.G. Miles Parkway to Airport Road, returning via Barry McCaffrey Boulevard to Kelly Drive to Pineland.”
Hatcher presented the results of that analysis to the council during its Dec. 21 meeting. She said the initial route-extension analysis showed the revised route would incur additional cost to the city to implement, but a more serious problem occurred with what she called headway — a measurement of distance or time between vehicles in a transit system.
She said that headway most commonly is measured as the distance from the tip of one vehicle to the tip of the next one behind it and is expressed as the time it takes for the trailing vehicle to cover the same distance. The transit-industry standard is for the headway not to exceed one hour. However, Hatcher noted the longest headway in the revised route would be approximately one hour and 41 minutes.
At the conclusion of her presentation, Hatcher told the mayor and council if they wanted to pursue the route expansion, she recommended additional analysis be completed.
Following her presentation, Jenkins reiterated his concern that the new transit-system route leaves out a significant number of citizens. He said he supports a town-hall meeting.
“I’d like to see something take place as soon as possible,” Jenkins said. “It seems like all of Hinesville is covered but that particular area.”