Xpress buses, Coweta Transit back to normal Tuesday

By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL sarah@newnan.com Polar conditions last week grounded the Xpress bus service for Coweta until Friday. The commuter bus service, which takes riders to and from downtown and midtown Atlanta every weekday, should be back to full operation on Tuesday, said William Mecke, spokesman for the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, which operates the bus system.
GRTA's Xpress service routes will be closed Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. In addition, Coweta County Transit, a dial-a-ride system, was closed for the entire week because of road conditions, said Tavores Edwards, Coweta transportation planner. Coweta Transit will have limited service Monday for people going to regularly-scheduled appointments, Edwards said. Full service will resume Tuesday. Coweta's transit system offers door-to-door trips to any location in Coweta County. Riders must schedule their trip at least 24 hours in advance. The cost is $3 each way. Trips are generally scheduled between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. For more information or to schedule a trip, call 770-683-RIDE (7433). Some of the Xpress routes had limited operation Thursday. "We did our best to try to have something ready for Wednesday," Mecke said, but it was not to be. In addition to icy road conditions in metro Atlanta from the wintry precipitation Sunday and Monday, there were also the iced-over park and ride lots. Even Wednesday, the roads "just weren't safe enough to get the coaches in and out of the park and rides all over the region." Getting the service up and running Thursday took "a lot of hard work from GRTA staff," Mecke said, especially Deborah Byrd who is in charge of the park and ride stations. Everyone did their part to get things moving. "This included GRTA office staff salting, sanding and shoveling at the Civic Center MARTA station and the various park and rides," Mecke said. "Everybody pitched in to get done what needed to be done," Mecke said. "That was one of the better things about this week. Nobody was saying 'that's not my job.' Instead, it was 'what needs to be done? OK, I can take care of that.'" Because the Newnan park and ride off Highway 34 East on Hollz Parkway is farther out than many others, it "took an extra day before we could get down and get the park and ride cleared off and safe for operations," Mecke said. Some routes, including any that used Georgia 400, weren't able to run at all last week. Streets in downtown Atlanta were still "hit or miss" on Thursday, so the Civic Center station, which is the midpoint for most routes, was the only stop Thursday and Friday.

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