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Sunday Buses Start Next Month; Will Be Free for Four Weeks

Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file

Athens Transit will start running buses on Sundays Aug. 16, and fares will be free for the first four Sundays.

The launch will coincide with Athens Transit’s regular fall service changes the second week of August—when University of Georgia classes traditionally start—in order to recruit and train employees. 

To help expose riders to the new service, the bus will be free to ride on Aug. 16, 23 and 30 and Sept. 6. The first day of paid-fare service will be Sept. 13.

Sunday buses will run on the same routes and schedules as they do on Saturdays. Routes 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9, 20 and 25 will run hourly from 7:45 a.m.–9:45 p.m. See the Athens Transit website for more details.

The Athens-Clarke County Commission approved Sunday bus service as part of the county’s fiscal 2016 budget at a cost of $293,000, with the caveat that ridership will be monitored to ensure it’s cost-effective. Athens Transit’s goal is at match Saturday’s ridership of 1,400 trips per day. 

Here’s the strategy for promoting Sunday buses, according to a memo provided by Athens Transit Director Butch McDuffie:

Staff has developed a marketing plan specifically designed to promote Sunday transit ridership to the community. This plan includes public outreach to churches, places of employment, community groups, the university, various shopping centers and markets. 

In additional to the public outreach, print, radio, ACTV, as well as paid TV advertising will be used. Staff also will produce multiple interior and exterior on-board ads on various buses, and use the on-board automated PR announcement system to promote the new Sunday services multiple times daily. 

That’s similar to a plan I outlined recently in City Dope, so it will of course work flawlessly.