Changes coming to Metra bus system

COLUMBUS, Ga. –  The city bus system is expanding.  Thanks to millions of dollars of funding from a TSPLOST tax, folks will see buses around the area more frequently.

The Metra system currently has nine bus routes in the Columbus area and runs from 4:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.  Starting next month, there will be three more added routes and longer hours.

Bridgette Rhames has been riding the Metra system since 2012 and doesn’t have any complaints.

“I’m a regular rider so, this is my reliable transportation.  Even if I have a job this would be my reliable transportation.  I love it,” Rhames said.

Shandrea Miles has been riding the bus her whole life and says there needs to be some changes.

“The wait period needs to be a little quicker.  The sitting period is too long.  They really need to advance the hours because people get off work at 10, 11 and don’t have transportation,” she said.

According to Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, this will change.  She says they’ve been working on the bus system for a couple of years.

“Through the generosity of the citizens and the TSPLOST we were able now to fund new routes for our buses, able to fund a 3rd shift bus service so, people who are working in the evenings can get to and from work,” Tomlinson said.

Tomlinson says in order to be a competitive city with the new generation, Columbus needs to have a strong transportation system.

“Regardless of their circumstance expect a city like Columbus to have a thriving public transportation system young people will not move to a city where they have to own a car,” she said.

More routes and extended hours are exactly what Miles says the Metra system needs.

“They need it and more hours.  More buses.  More hours,” Miles said.

The new hours will run until 11:30 p.m.  The changes will begin Saturday, October 22nd.  This will be considering a “soft opening” and will offer free bus rides from 4:30 a.m. until 11:30 p.m.

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