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Regional transportation system getting buses
Bryan County gets wheels, Liberty to follow
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Coastal Regional Commission of Georgia Chairman Dan Coty in front of one of the new buses that will be used for public transportation across Coastal Georgia. - photo by Photo by Ross Blair
Need a ride? Liberty and Long county residents can now use public transportation to take them anywhere within Coastal Georgia for a minimal fee — or anywhere inside the county for just $3.
Terry Taylor, director of transportation for Bryan County Social Services, said there is a great need for this type of service.
“I think it’s the most wonderful thing that’s happened in Bryan County in a long time, and it’s going to help a lot of people — from the elderly to people needing to get back and forth to work,” Taylor said. “I’ve been waiting for this day to come, and it’s finally here. Especially with the economy the way it is, this is going to save a ton of money for a lot of people.”
After four years of planning, the $2 million program, called Coastal Regional Coaches, has been implemented in nine area counties by the Coastal Regional Commission of Georgia, formerly known as the Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center.
The CRC held a press conference Wednesday at the Richmond Hill Quality Inn. Officials gave members of the media rides on one of the new 12-passenger buses. A total of 60 buses are scheduled to be put into use throughout Coastal Georgia by year’s end.
Here are some quick facts about the new service:
• Riders must call at least 24 hours in advance to schedule a pick-up. The toll free number is (866) 543-6744.
• Coastal Regional Coaches will pick you up at your residence and take you to wherever you want to go within Coastal Georgia.
• The service is available to anyone who lives or works in Coastal Georgia and can be for any purpose.
• Cost is $3 for one-way or $6 for round trip within your county. If travelling outside the county, a $3 charge is added to each county line crossed.
• The service is to be available Monday-Friday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
CRC Transportation Director Barbara Hurst said the program will allow people without transportation to live more independently.
She said another new program aims to make low-income workers’ commute more affordable.
“If you have a low-wage job where you have to drive two or three counties out to get there, you’ve pretty much exhausted your salary maintaining your vehicle and providing fuel,” Hurst said. “With this program, you can spend your money on household expenses rather than commuting to work.”
This program is a van pool, which provides a van and state-federal funds for operating costs to a group of five to 15 employees that would be willing to commute together.
CRC Chairman Dan Coty said FLETC in Brunswick already uses the programs, and “We’ll be contacting all the major employers in the region and letting them know that this program is available.”
Hurst said Coastal Regional Coaches will eventually implement a full-scale dispatch center and mobile data terminals on buses to allow the use of smart cards.
“All an individual will have to do is swipe their card and get on the bus, which will make it easier to determine an accurate fare,” Hurst said.
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