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Riders give strong feedback on Gainesville transit changes
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Public input

For those who couldn’t make Monday’s public meetings, comments can still be mailed to Richard Ticehurst, 687 Main St., Gainesville, GA 30501, or emailed to rticehurst@gainesville.org.

Routes were one thing, but Gainesville Connection destinations also got a small group excited.

“Once the word spreads that we’re going to Dollar Tree, I think we’re just going to have Christmas in July,” Gabriele Jackson said of the discount store on John W. Morrow Jr. Parkway.

On the other hand, Doreen Thomas of Gainesville questioned buses not traveling Beverly Road. “I have doctors over there that I go to,” she said.

Even though the number wasn’t huge, the 22 or so who attended Monday’s three public input sessions on proposed changes April 1 to routes and fares for the public transit system gave officials some lively feedback.

“Everyone was very verbal,” said Phillippa Lewis Moss, Gainesville-Hall Community Service Center director, after the final meeting at the Community Service Center on Prior Street. “We didn’t have any shy attendees.”

City officials agreed in October to set the Gainesville Connection base fare for adults at $1 and for seniors (riders 60 and older) at 50 cents.

Also, effective April 1, the transit system will feature a daily pass of $2 and a monthly pass of $30.

“That’s unlimited riding ... on as many buses as you like,” Moss said. “The win-win to this new fare change is that if you commit to a daily or monthly pass, you have massive savings.

“What it provides us as a transit system ... is some knowledge about what we can anticipate in terms of ridership on a given day or month,” she said.

Officials said they didn’t get much pushback on fares at the meetings.

“Talking with other seniors,” Thomas said, “a great many of us agreed that even if we had to pay $1, we wouldn’t mind. As long as we continue to have the transportation that we have now, it’s not a burden — it’s a luxury.”

Also changing are number designations for each route, something Thomas questioned.

“To me, all the (current) numbers are fine,” she said. “I’m getting at that age now where you’ve got to stop this new stuff.”

“I promise you, after April, we’re not changing numbers for at least five years,” Moss said. “We may add a number, but we will not change them.”

The current system of using single-digit route numbers “doesn’t allow for any growth,” she said. “If you want to have a shoot-off of Route 1, but you’ve already got a Route 2, what do you call (that) route?

“We felt like we needed space to grow — that’s the only logic.”

Moss said officials will remain open to public comments as they consider the new routes.

“We got a really good recommendation today to put a bus stop at a location that, quite frankly, we hadn’t thought about,” she said.

Comments will be received late in the process, but “we would like to get all of them in by Dec. 31, because we’re going to begin a new marketing campaign starting Jan. 1,” Moss said.

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