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Gainesville Connection public bus system may be nearing its end
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A Gainesville Connection bus arrives at the administration building on Main Street Wednesday, March 20, 2019. - photo by Scott Rogers

Gainesville Connection, a fixed-route public transit fixture for 20 years, may be ending service June 30.

Hall Area Transit is looking to end the bus service, which started in 2001 as the Red Rabbit, along with Dial-A-Ride, a countywide, reservations-only curbside van service that operates throughout Hall. Gainesville Connection operates only in the city.

WeGo, a new app-based van service rolled out by Hall Area Transit in December, would be the lone public transit option starting July 1.

Public meetings on the changes are set for June 2-3.

Phillippa Lewis Moss, director of Gainesville-Hall County Community Services, is recommending the moves to the Georgia Department of Transportation, which is the federal funding source for Hall Area Transit.

She said that after studying cost and ridership numbers over the past few months, “it became very apparent very quickly that WeGo has outpaced Gainesville Connection and Dial-A-Ride in all measurable ways.”

The plan all along was to end Dial-A-Ride on June 30 with expansion of WeGo into the county on July 1.

The announcement concerning Gainesville Connection was made Tuesday, May 11, during a meeting of the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Policy Committee. The MPO is Hall’s transportation planning agency and the Policy Committee is its decision-making body.

Gainesville Connection began to fade last year, as officials decided to reduce the number of routes from five to two and cut operating hours.

In February, just two months after it was launched, WeGo’s ridership eclipsed Dial-A-Ride and Gainesville Connection combined, and its numbers keep climbing, Moss said.

WeGo’s numbers have increased from 1,574 in January to 2,358 in March, or by nearly 50%.


Public meetings

Discussion of a recommendation to end Gainesville Connection fixed-route bus service on June 30

In person

When: 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. June 2

Where: Hall Area Transit, 687 Main St., Gainesville

Virtual 

When: Noon, 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. June 3

Where: Zoom, meeting ID number is 81268055312

Regional events