AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Augusta Transit has received a $1.4 million grant to update bus stops throughout the city. The funding will be used to improve safety and accessibility by adding bus route signs, seating and shelters.
For people like Tinya Heard, who rides the bus often, these are welcomed improvements.
“I’ve been riding the bus for half my life now,” Heard said. “I really like the bus system. It’s really reliable when you can’t depend on anyone else.”
Dr. Oliver Page, the Deputy Director of Augusta Transit, says 188 of the city’s 615 bus stops do not have signs. It will cost $25,000 to add them.
“Bus stop signs provide details about the routes, times and schedule of where the buses will be going,” Page explained. “Having a physical bus stop also allows the bus operator to stop in the correct position. In Augusta, you have to board the bus at a legally-defined bus stop. You can not flag the bus down. Having bus stop signs allows riders to get to the right point to board the bus.”
A large portion of the grant money will go towards making bus stops compliant with the American Disabilities Act (ADA). 113 bus stops are not ADA compatible, according to Page. Concrete slabs need to be poured so wheelchairs can access buses. It will cost $1.4 million to make these improvements alone.
“People in wheelchairs have to either wait in the street or wait further away from the bus stop because there’s no way they can access the correct bus stop,” Page explained. “We want to minimize that and improve safety and security for all of the riders.”
Augusta Transit is also considering adding braille to bus signs to assist those who are visually impaired.
The city will begin making these improvements this year. Augusta Transit plans to apply for additional funding to continue updating its bus stops.