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Users get glimpse of new bus system
The new buses are expected to hold 21 people. - photo by Photo by Alena Parker.
Rosalind Torres hopes she will have more options instead of just a taxi once Hinesville’s new transit system is up and running.
With four months until the projected Dec. 1 launch, about 100 residents strolled in and out of the city council room Thursday as part of a public open house to learn the details of the service and view enlarged maps of the bus routes over light refreshments.
“Oh, I think it’s just needed so bad,” Torres said. “Taxis are so expensive. Gas is up so high.”
Torres has a car but it is not as reliable as she would like and sometimes uses a taxi, recently paying $8 for a trip to go grocery shopping.
She has been following the progress of the project since she first heard it was coming.
“I read about it in the paper a couple months back and I was thrilled,” she said.
But she thinks the bus system should consider extending as far as Midway on the east end and Walthourville to the west.  
Steve Berg also agreed with a reach to Midway.
The Midway resident thinks a transit system is a “necessary public service that’s often overlooked.”
“Even at a loss it should be provided to people with transportation difficulties to come to and from places of employment,” Berg said.
Even though he has a dependable vehicle, he thinks everyone, he included, will benefit from public transportation in the long run.
“It’ll get a number of cars off the road,” Berg said. “It’ll lower pollution.”
He also expressed strong concern for soldiers coming back from deployment and finding ways to relieve stress.
“I think it might lower DUIs among these guys (soldiers) returning...and even if they do overdo it, they can get on a bus instead of drive,” Berg said.
Gwen Johnson of Hinesville was pleased with what she saw but really thought the public could benefit more if pick-ups and departures included Wal-Mart Supercenter on Hwy. 84.
“It’s a good thing, but they really do need to include Wal-Mart,” she said.
Whitney Shephard of R S & H, along with city transit coordinator Brandon Wescott and Veolia Transportation general manager Theodis Jackson, was on hand to address citizens’ individual concerns.
Shepherd explained to Johnson that the second year of funding will allow the city to expand the route to cover Wal-Mart.
“We’re getting some great feedback today about that,” Shepherd said.
Edward Butler kept the air conditioner going on the sample bus outside city hall so the public could see how the inside of the buses looked.
Butler is from Atlanta and said the proposed $1 bus charge was a steal.
He suggested the city may want to look into installing bike racks on the buses. Residents would be able to still go where the bus does not, catch the bus on its designated route.
“I’ve been here 23 years and this is history for us,” Johnson said of the transit system. “This is wonderful.”
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