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Athens Transit Wins National Award


Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file

People have lots of complaints about Athens Transit: Buses don’t come often enough; it doesn’t go enough places; it’s too expensive.

While those are legitimate concerns—and a study is underway to examine those issues—let us remember that Athens Transit, whatever its flaws, is really an excellent system, especially for a city this size.

In fact, on Wednesday the Community Transportation Association of America, at its annual conference in Portland, OR, named Athens Transit the Urban Community Transportation System of the Year.

In particular, CTAA cited:

• A program overseen by Municipal Court Judge Leslie Spornberger Jones that trains people who are losing their driving privileges to use the bus.

• A UGA app that shows both campus and Athens buses’ locations in real time.

• A LEAD Athens project that incorporated transit stops into Google Maps.

• The Sunday bus service pilot project, which launched last year and is continuing in the upcoming fiscal year.

• A youth ridership program launching this summer that gives under-17 riders free transportation to work and educational and recreation opportunities.

• An ongoing transit study, due to be released next month, that is examining various modes of transit throughout the community, including Athens Transit, Campus Transit, private apartment shuttles, non-emergency medical transportation, taxis and bicycle and pedestrian options.

Fun fact: Athens Transit and Campus Transit combined are the fourth-busiest transit system in the country, with 1.7 million riders on city buses annually and 11 million on UGA buses.