By: John Barker, Patch Staff
DOUGLAS COUNTY, GA — The Douglas County Board of Commissioners released a video Wednesday as a public service announcement explaining routes, concept and prices related to the county’s new Douglas Fixed Route Bus Service.
In an effort to address the growing transit and mobility needs of the county, the Douglas County Board of Commissioners has expanded transportation options for citizens with the Connect Douglas Fixed Route Bus Service.
“We are so excited about the new fixed route shuttle system that we are bringing to Douglas County,” said Gary Watson, Director of Douglas County’s Division of Transit Services.
The following is background information from the ConnectDouglas – Douglas County Fixed Route Bus Service website:
On Aug. 8, 2018, the Douglas County Board of Commissioners voted to move forward with implementing fixed route bus/shuttle service. Four routes are under development. Two routes will serve downtown Douglasville and the Highway 5/Stewart Parkway/Douglas Boulevard/Hospital Drive area. A third route will serve Thornton Road south of I-20 and Riverside Drive west to the American Red Cross and Tributary. The fourth route serves Lithia Springs and will connect the two Douglasville routes to the Thornton Road/Riverside route, and will also connect with Cobb Link Route 30 which will provide access to the H.E. Holmes MARTA station.
All four routes will operate from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. The base cost of a one-way fare will be $2.50; the fare for seniors 60 and over, disabled individuals and students will be $1. Individuals will be able to get a photo ID card for fare discounts through a simple verification process at the Douglas County Transportation Center. Douglas County hopes to have the service operational during the second quarter of calendar year 2019. Information about the launch of the service and schedules will be coming in the news media, community events and other public informational activities.
Why Does Douglas County Need Bus Service?
The short answer is that many people have limited transportation options or no transportation options and need help with getting to jobs, doctor appointments and errands like going to the grocery store that most of us take for granted.
Here are some more specific reasons Douglas County needs bus service:
- Senior adults make up 9% of Douglas County’s population. Many of them have to depend on other people for their transportation. Seniors are out-living their ability to drive safely.
- Disabled individuals make up 11% of the County’s population. These people are capable of working and being productive members of society, but they don’t have transportation.
- Fewer young adults are driving. The number of high school seniors with a driver’s license has gone down 13% over the last 15 years.
- 26% of households in Douglas County have one car.
- 5% of households in Douglas County do not have a car.
- Some families are paying so much of their limited income on housing that they cannot afford to have a car. They have serious transportation challenges.
- Douglas County employers need workers. There is a sizeable pool of workers qualified for certain jobs, but they do not have transportation. There is another economical component to bus service. More and more businesses and industries will not locate in a community unless there is access to public transportation. Also, businesses cannot thrive unless their customers and workers can get there. Bus service can help provide that connectivity.
What Are The Advantages/Benefits of Bus Service?
- Convenient schedules
- Economical fares
- Connectivity with other forms of transportation such as vanpools, Xpress service to Atlanta, CobbLink and MARTA
- ADA friendly
- The bus routes are tentatively scheduled to operate from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday.
- Each route will have an estimated 60 minute peak time headway and a 45 minute off-peak headway. Douglas County is working to refine the routes to reduce headway.
- Douglas County’s buses will have a capacity of one driver, 12 ambulatory passengers and two wheelchair passengers. All buses will be equipped with a wheelchair lift, bicycle rack, digital destination signs and public announcement systems.