Changes may be in store for Columbus public transit system

Changes may be in store for Columbus public transit system

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Columbus' public transit system is about to undergo a major overhaul.

For the first time since voters gave the green light for transportation tax or TSPLOST last November, consultants revealed the results of a study to enhance the METRA Transit System by adding more routes, additional run times, mini hubs and park and ride lots.

We spoke with Marie Wright, a Metra regular customer. She takes the city bus at least six days a week to pay bills and visit her daughter's school.

"I would like for them to run later and I would love for them to run on Sunday, because it's Sunday doesn't mean people don't have anywhere to go," said Wright

We heard complaints similar to Wright's concerns from almost every METRA customer we spoke to Tuesday afternoon.

"People that go to work at 3 p.m. and get off at 11 p.m. they can't get home, if they catch the bus to get to work, they have to get another way home,” explained Tommy Kendrick, a Columbus native who has frequently used public transits in other places like Atlanta and Akron, Ohio.

Kendrick says those cities still use a transfer system, like Columbus did when the main hub was located in Uptown Columbus. Back then you paid one fee, stated Kendrick, but now you pay to get to the hub and pay another fee for your next destination.

The time it takes to get to and from destinations was also mentioned during the consultant's presentation at council Tuesday, March 10. On average, it takes about 40 minutes to get to a destination and about 120 minutes to return home on that same route, according to Director of Planning Rick Jones.

"For now to the next eight to 10 years, we have the opportunity to improve our transit system," Jones added. "Georgia communities are envious of Columbus because we now have $22 million to enhance our transit system.”

There was no request for change at the meeting; Mayor Teresa Tomlinson says the issue will likely come before council again for approval in about a month or two.

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