Cobb to roll out enhanced bus service
by Jon Gillooly
March 23, 2014 04:00 AM | 3147 views | 4 4 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Cobb County Commissioner Lisa Cupid checks out the traffic flow of Cobb County Transit buses Tuesday at the Cumberland Transfer Station. The Board of Commissioners recently approved new routes and revised existing ones to help service south Cobb residents. The station is close to the new Atlanta Braves Stadium site off US Hwy 41. <br>Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Cobb County Commissioner Lisa Cupid checks out the traffic flow of Cobb County Transit buses Tuesday at the Cumberland Transfer Station. The Board of Commissioners recently approved new routes and revised existing ones to help service south Cobb residents. The station is close to the new Atlanta Braves Stadium site off US Hwy 41.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
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MARIETTA — Southwest Cobb Commissioner Lisa Cupid is pleased with the Board of Commissioners vote this month approving a $4 million boost to the county’s bus system.

The county is spending that money to add a 20th bus route to its Cobb Community Transit system. It will also modify two existing routes and add a shuttle for residents who live in three “zones,” allowing them to reserve shuttle service, taxi-style.

Cupid said the enhanced service restores some of the routes cut during the economic downturn.

“And in the meantime, we have significant populations out in the district that rely on transit to get them to work, to get them to the doctor’s offices, to get them to the grocery store, and many of those persons have been stranded and having to walk several miles with children, sometimes in inclement weather, to get to the bus,” Cupid said. “Their lifestyle has been significantly exacerbated by the loss of some of those routes.”

The $4 million cost breaks down into $2.2 million for operating expenses and $1.8 million for capital expenses, including the purchase of new buses.

The county’s new bus route, Route 25, will span from Cumberland to the H.E. Holmes MARTA station in Fulton County, zigging and zagging a distance of 25 miles. The cost to operate the new route is $1.1 million, said Faye DiMassimo, the county’s transportation director.

The goal is to provide east-west connectivity to areas now without service. The route, which will serve WellStar Cobb Hospital, will come online next year after the buses are ordered, said Gail Franklin, CCT’s division manager.

Reservation, please

The county is also rolling out a shuttle service in three 5- to 7-square-mile areas. Residents who live in these designated “flex zones” may reserve the shuttle service by calling two hours in advance.

The smaller buses are handicapped accessible and will cost $2.50 to ride. They will be

available this fall.

“You call two hours in advance, and it cycles not a single trip, so you won’t be on the bus alone probably,” Franklin said. “If we have four requests, it will cycle those reservations within a 60-minute headway. It will be four people they’re dropping off.”

One zone is bound by Macland Road to the north, Barrett Parkway to the west and the East-West Connector to the south.

A second is bound by Macedonia Road to the north, CH James Parkway and the Powder Springs Park & Ride to the west and Powder Springs Road to the south.

The third is bound by Anderson Mill Road to the north, CH James Parkway to the west and the Cobb-Douglas county line to the south.

Existing routes revised

The county is modifying two existing routes, Routes 20 and 30, which will be in place by July 1.

Route 20 will extend south on South Cobb Drive to service Cumberland Parkway and the Home Depot Support Center to Cumberland.

During morning and evening peak times, trips will alternate between the current Spring and Concord roads route and the new route alignment to the Home Depot Support Center.

Route 30 is being improved for time performance.

“Now when you go to the stop, the bus will arrive at the time it’s scheduled, whereas before it was early, it was late, it was just kind of all over the map,” Franklin said. “We wanted people to count on the scheduled time to catch the bus.”

The total number of trips taken by CCT riders has increased from 4.3 million in fiscal 2011 to 4.4 million in 2012 and 4.6 million in 2013, county spokesman Robert Quigley said.

CCT’s total operating budget for fiscal 2013 was $18 million, of which $8.7 million was subsidized by the county.

Providing transit enhances the quality of life in Cobb, Cupid said.

“At the end of the day, when people can’t get access to work, people can’t get access to health care, people can’t get access to food, that creates challenging circumstances, which could alternately result in having to deal with public safety issues, very critical health issues. It just creates a desperate climate in certain parts of the district that we’ll ultimately have to pay for whether it be through services or public safety,” she said.

By the numbers

Ridership increases

* 4.3 million trips in fiscal 2011

* 4.4 million trips in fiscal 2012

* 4.6 million trips in fiscal 2013

CCT operating budget

* $18M of which $8.7M was subsidized by the county

Comments
(4)
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Taxpayer D
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March 24, 2014
We can pay for your food, give you a ride to the store, pay for your housing and give you more money for each of your kids and hey why not a free cell phone so you can call all your other unemployed friends.

If you haven't figured it out yet, they don't ride the bus to work when everything is provided to them for free. The back of the taxpayer is about to break. Working people don't live as well as the unemployed....
Susie Q
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March 23, 2014
Where is the funding coming from? I am tired of my taxes being spent on empty buses and service no one uses. All the figures are skewed to make it look like it is justified when in fact it is a total waste of tax dollars. This money could be better spent for Public Safety and other much higher priorities.
Rick Z
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March 23, 2014
It sounds like CCT is making a positive effort to deal with the dilemma that you need to provide better service in order to get more people to use it. Most people understand public transit will play an increasing role in the county's overall transportation picture, especially once the Braves move here in 2017, and it's good to see resources applied to Cobb County's needs, rather than something like the TSPLOST. If the cost of adding Route 25 is $1.1 million, that's around $1.50 per capita based on the county population. Do you truly find that so outrageous, or are you just outraged any time the government tries to do anything to improve the quality of life?
Cathy C
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March 23, 2014
...Where did you get the idea that the buses are empty and that no one uses the service? Or do you just mean YOU don't need or want public transit and so YOU don't give a damn about the people who do?

Public transit services are needed more and more in Cobb county, and if anything I'm seeing more and more people using the buses. One day you may need them yourself.
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