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Transit officials say so far, so good
More than 1,000 ride buses on first week
Bus operator Dennis Bohlmann waits for riders to board the bus Tuesday at Liberty Regional Medical Center as passenger Janice Cohen talks on her cell phone while waiting for her connection. - photo by Photo by Seraine Page
By Saturday evening, more than 1,000 people had boarded the new Liberty Transit system buses since service began Oct. 4, according to transportation officials.  
During the first week of operation, passengers could catch a bus for free and explore any of the three routes to get a feel for the system.
 “We had the drivers do a count for each passenger that went on,” said Theodis Jackson, general manager for the Liberty Transit system.  Jackson said he was thrilled at the response rate, especially with as many as 375 passengers boarding buses Friday.
“I think the community is absolutely falling for this,” he said of the 1,055 passengers who took advantage of free rides last week.
Passengers can now board for the regular fare of $1. Senior citizens, people with disabilities and riders with Medicare cards will pay a reduced fare of 50 cents. Monthly passes also are available for $30.
Jackson said route 2 is the busiest with stops at Walmart on Highway 84 and Fort Stewart. Passengers exiting on Fort Stewart must have a valid government-issued photo ID to get onto base, according to the Liberty Transit ride guide.
Passenger Janice Cohen said she loves riding the new buses.
“I love ’em because I don’t have transportation,” said Cohen, who is searching for a job. “It’s convenient for me.”
Cohen also frequently stops at Walmart and riding the bus makes her shopping trips easier, she said.  She used public transportation when she lived in Jacksonville three months ago and is glad to see a system in Liberty County.
Cohen took her three children on the bus over the weekend to help them get the hang of it.
“They love it,” she said.
Jackson said aside from the positive community response, the newly employed drivers enjoy handling their routes, and the only complaint received so far was about limited route service.
“They seemed to be pleased to be with the drivers and the system,” said Jackson of the riders.
Bus operator Dennis Bohlmann echoed Jackson’s sentiment as he waited between stops to keep the bus on schedule at Liberty Regional Medical Center.
Bohlmann said he loves his new job and that he thinks the system is running well.
“I love operating the bus because I’m a people person,” he said.
Even though rider usage decreased this week, he is hopeful it will pick up once advertising is regular. Bohlmann said he thinks more people are using it every day, and on Tuesday morning he was headed out into the community to promote the system.
Because regular fare rates now apply, Jackson said it is hard to predict what time of day is busiest and how many people will use the new service. He said he thinks the numbers will increase each day because of the positive response to the free rides given last week.
“What I do know is that everyone seems to be very happy about it. My drivers are proud and the people are happy using it. It has proven itself already for free. It may change when people have to pay a $1, but I don’t think there’s going to be a big backlash from it,” Jackson said.
“I’m really happy with it.”
For information on schedules, fees and routes, go to

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