Augusta, GA – Reginald Tippett needed to catch the bus to get to the doctor’s office on Monday. He did his best to stay out of the hot sun because he was going to have to wait. “I got 40 minutes, he said. “In this heat?” we asked. “Yeah,” he answered. “What’s it like, do you need some shelter?” we asked. “They need shelters down here for the bus system,” said Tippett.
Most of Augusta’s bus stops do not have a shelter. Augusta Public Transit Department officials say 180 are available.
“How about the shelters, are they clean, maintained, are there enough of them?” we asked one bus rider. “They’re clean, but there [is] not enough of them,” he answered, catching a bus on Wrightsboro Road.
Augusta Public Transit Department director Patrick Stephens has been on the job for two months and he was out checking out the system, including the shape of the shelters.
“I’m presently in the evaluation of the infrastructure, do we have enough shelters out there, what are the conditions of the shelters,” said Stephens.
To take care of all the shelters, the city has only one maintenance worker on the job. Keeping up with all the litter is extremely difficult, so the appearance of the shelters can differ greatly.
We found one shelter with missing walls and wires dangling. At another shelter, the riders are out of the weather, but the bench to sit down was missing.
“That needs to be repaired?” we asked Stephens. “Absolutely. We want to address that in our plan going forward because we have to have a plan for maintaining these shelters,” he said.
So, Transit officials are out braving the heat to determine what will make the transit system run better for riders. Stephens says he cannot guarantee riders a shelter at every stop. He said absolutely not, saying the number of riders in Augusta would not justify that expense, adding even transit systems in major cities do not offer shelters at every stop.