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Report recommends Hall Area Transit expanding to this neighboring county
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Hall Area Transit launched their WeGo vanpool service Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. Passengers can book a trip using the free WeGo app much like Uber and Lyft. A regional transit report recently recommended Hall Area Transit expand into White County. - photo by Scott Rogers

A regional transit report recommends Hall Area Transit expanding into White County, deeming it  as a high priority and something that could be done relatively quickly.

That’s according to the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission’s recently released draft Transit Development Plan, which is in a public review stage through Feb. 20.

The report doesn’t go into a lot of detail about the White County venture, other than to say White “would contract with Hall to provide public transit in their jurisdiction” and that the effort would require “further coordination between Hall County and White County.”

Also, no cost estimate is given for such an expansion.

Phillippa Lewis Moss, director of Gainesville-Hall County Community Service and general manager of Hall Area Transit, said, “With the right intergovernmental agreements and financial structures in place,” the recommendation to extend service into White County is “very sound.”

“Creating a regional approach to public transit would enhance the lives of so many residents, particularly those seeking medical services, institutions of higher learning and employment opportunities,” she said. “We are definitely better when we work together.”

Hall Area Transit service operates WeGo, an on-demand ride-sharing service that operates similar to Uber. WeGo has an app that allows users anywhere in Hall County to order a ride 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.

White County, which only operates a seniors-only transportation service, and Hall are listed in the plan as among regional counties sharing the most trips between one county and another. Other counties sharing the most number of trips are Dawson-Lumpkin and Hall-Habersham.

“I think (regional transit) is an issue. We need to look at options to address it,” said White County Manager Mike Renshaw. “I don’t think there’s a simple, quick fix.”

He said that getting public comment on the study “is my priority right now.”

“Any potential intergovernmental agreement with some other county is down the road. Right now, I just want to make sure that enough people that are impacted — perhaps by the lack of transportation options in White County — are able to chime in and give their comment.”

The report places the Hall Area Transit expansion in a “high impact tier” of projects, which also includes a “public-private partnership between Hall Area Transit and large employers to offer

employer-specific shuttles.”

Such projects “were highly prioritized by the public/stakeholders,” the report states.

The plan also breaks down potential projects into time frames, with the transit expansion considered short term, or doable within five years of the plan’s implementation.

The regional commission has teamed up with Georgia Department of Transportation on the transit study, “collecting input to better understand transit ridership and inform future investments for transit service” throughout the 12-county Northeast Georgia region, including Hall, according to officials.

The main provider in the region, which has about 500,000 people and is expected to grow to 643,971 by 2050, is Hall Area Transit.

Regional transit plan

The public can comment through Feb. 20 on the Transit Development Plan by emailing comments and questions to with “Georgia Mountains TDP” in the subject line.