Gainesville State College students won’t have to weather the walk from building to building anymore if they hitch a ride with Hall Area Transit.
The transit service began on Monday a shuttle service around the college campus with stops at Oakwood’s Park and Ride, Walmart and the Blackshear Place Library, according to Janice Crow, director of Hall Area Transit.
The shuttle service starts just in time for the beginning of the college’s spring semester, with classes resuming on Wednesday, and Crow said the route will be flexible to riders’ needs.
Though the 20-minute route has certain stops, drivers could make extra stops depending on riders’ needs, Crow said.
"There’s some extra flexibility in this," Crow said.
The new shuttle service started Monday with few riders, Crow said.
"It’s registration day... so there’s really not a lot of traffic," Crow said. "Come Wednesday with the first day of class, but we’re down there so we can become visible just in case."
The shuttle service around the campus is a precursor to an expansion later this month that will provide bus service from Gainesville to Gainesville State College and will serve Brenau University, Crow said.
On Jan. 25, Hall Area Transit will roll out two new routes with new buses: one that will travel from Walmart on Shallowford Road in Gainesville to Gainesville State College and another that will service Brenau University and Featherbone Communiversity.
In addition to the new shuttle service, the route to Gainesville State will begin each day at 6:15 a.m. at the Walmart on Shallowford Road, Crowe said. The loop from Walmart to the college and back takes about one hour. The route to Gainesville State will end each day at 5:45 p.m. at the college.
"The idea is to be going through the Park and Ride in time to pick people up to go into campus by 7 a.m. classes," Crow said.
"That’s the point is to get people there by 7 a.m. classes."
The new routes are part of a planned expansion of Hall Area Transit, which included four new buses mostly paid for by the Federal Transportation Administration and the state Department of Transportation.
Transportation officials expect that the expansion will increase ridership on the Red Rabbit service since it will cater to students in the community who, for years, have requested service at local colleges.