Coweta transit system popular

By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL Coweta's transit system is getting more popular by the day -- so much so, that, occasionally, people can't book trips for their preferred time. Tavores Edwards, Coweta's transportation planner, gave a presentation on the program to the Coweta County Board of Commissioners last week.
In the first month of operation, there were 1,647 trips taken, Edwards said. Of those, 48 percent were "medical" trips, 39 percent were senior citizen trips, 8 percent were employment and education related, and 5 percent were "other," which includes shopping and social trips. Edwards is confident that the number of employment and education trips will continue to rise as more and more people find out about the service. "We started this, and marketing and everything was kicked off, but it's still new, it's still fresh," he said. The average trip distance was 5.3 miles, and the system logged a total of 8,706 miles in July. The service provides door to door trips to and from anywhere in Coweta County. Trips are $3 each way, and must be booked at least 24 hours in advance. Trips can be booked by calling 770-683-RIDE (7433). The service has three 13-passenger buses now. Coweta was supposed to get five buses. The program is funded with a combination of state, local, and federal funds. Coweta paid for its portion of the cost of the five buses -- 5 percent -- nearly a year ago. The other two buses are now set to arrive at the end of October, Edwards said. The system is operated by Quality Trans, which has a contract with Coweta. "Quality Trans is saying that their schedule is often booked with trips and the buses have been full on occasion," Edwards said. "As a result, there have been some 'turn downs,' but not many," he said. "And Quality Trans makes arrangements with those who have been turned down to arrange trips for the next day or another time that is convenient." Edwards said that, in his conversations with Mamie Tomys, regional operations director for Quality Trans, "she stresses that the two additional vehicles are needed ASAP." Edwards said plans are to continue marketing efforts, and to develop a "comment line" for citizen input. It will allow people to make complaints and provide positive feedback. "We're going to look for ways to constantly improve," Edwards said.

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