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dougtha1

THA BUS!

THA BUS!!!  

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  1. 1. What second tier city has the best public tranit system?

    • Macon
      4
    • Columbus
      5
    • Augusta
      2
    • Savannah
      3


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One important key to any city's urbanization efforts is the ability to establish and maintain an effective public transit system. In fact, this one key component can make or break a city in terms of growth and developement. In your opinion, which of these four second tier GA cities has the best public transit system, and WHY? Also consider that Macon will have rail transit in about 5 years and Savannah through Macon in about 8 years.

Here are a couple of pics of the MTA buses in my city (Macon)

MaconBus1.jpg

MaconBus2.jpg

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Not that my vote is based on any solid facts at all, but I'd also go with Savannah, due to the more pedestrian/transit friendly layout, greater density of homes and attractions, and better bus visibility than I've seen in the other cities. It's the one city in the group that probably sees good numbers of tourists taking public transportation. Ridership numbers would be the most telling statistic if I can find any...

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EDIT: Updated numbers

http://www.dot.state.ga.us/dot/plan-prog/i...Fact%20Book.pdf

I found a PDF with some old-ish statistics (from 2003), and Savannah is clearly in the lead. These numbers are for Annual Unlinked Trips.

Savannah: 3,606,438

Athens: 1,423,929

Macon: 1,331,775

Columbus: 1,000,870

Augusta: 964,158

This doesn't include numbers from other small transit agencies in the region (such as Aiken Co in the Augusta area), just the primary transit agency. Interestingly, Augusta's ridership was on par with Macon's in 2000, but seriously plunged between 2000-2003, while the other systems stayed fairly consistent. In Athens, on the other hand, transportation usage has exploded in the last 3 years (up nearly 50%)...

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EDIT: Updated numbers

[url=http://www.dot.state.ga.us/dot/plan-prog/intermodal/transit/assets/pdf/2004%20Fact%20Book.pdf

I found a PDF with some old-ish statistics (from 2003), and Savannah is clearly in the lead. These numbers are for Annual Unlinked Trips.

Savannah: 3,606,438

Athens: 1,423,929

Macon: 1,331,775

Columbus: 1,000,870

Augusta: 964,158

This doesn't include numbers from other small transit agencies in the region (such as Aiken Co in the Augusta area), just the primary transit agency. Interestingly, Augusta's ridership was on par with Macon's in 2000, but seriously plunged between 2000-2003, while the other systems stayed fairly consistent. In Athens, on the other hand, transportation usage has exploded in the last 3 years (up nearly 50%)...

Do these number include ridership for outside(non-City of Savannah run) touring ajencies in Savannah? Also lets not just focus on ridership exclusively but the actual quality of the ride itself, the access to the ride, and the overall punctuality. Also dont forget that taxis and intercity commuter buses (i.e. Groome Macon/Atlanta Airport and suburban county vans) are also public transportation.

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I have always thought that Athens had the second best public transportation system in the state. Then again I have not been on any of them so I really wouldn't know. Which is why I didn't vote. I am only familiar with Athens system because I went to the University of Georgia.

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METRA in Columbus is good. Most of there buses are new. METRA serves just about every section of Columbus. METRA always wins the public transportation competition each year if that counts for anything :thumbsup: . Here is a map of the routes.

Metra-Routes-Map.jpg

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For some reason that map has made me realize how cut off Macon's downtown is from the rest of the city. I don't know why I hadn't realized that before.

Macon's numbers are probably the most impressive to me. Savannah has tourists which inflate its numbers and Athens has college kids which likely inflate its numbers (I could be wrong though).

1 million trips per year comes out to about 2800 a day, right? Thats not too shabby.

You have to consider ridership numbers when you talk about mass transit, otherwise your discussion is based on how pretty the bus is. Perhaps Albany gets one super-nice bus? By your qualifications it would be the best, right? Mass transit is all about the numbers it can pull onto its system. Ridership can reflect many things, one of which is likely the effectiveness of the system at getting people where they need to go, which in turn would reflect the system as a whole.

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For some reason that map has made me realize how cut off Macon's downtown is from the rest of the city. I don't know why I hadn't realized that before.

Macon's numbers are probably the most impressive to me. Savannah has tourists which inflate its numbers and Athens has college kids which likely inflate its numbers (I could be wrong though).

1 million trips per year comes out to about 2800 a day, right? Thats not too shabby.

You have to consider ridership numbers when you talk about mass transit, otherwise your discussion is based on how pretty the bus is. Perhaps Albany gets one super-nice bus? By your qualifications it would be the best, right? Mass transit is all about the numbers it can pull onto its system. Ridership can reflect many things, one of which is likely the effectiveness of the system at getting people where they need to go, which in turn would reflect the system as a whole.

I agree, it shouldnt be a weekend "bus show" but its pretty hard to say that a city has the best transit system if the mode of transportation is unreliable. If the MTA buses in Macon broke down every week but we still led in ridership that to me would not justify us as having the best transit sytem. But as you have stated ridership is a main focus. Also how do you think rail will affect Macon in a few years? I agree as well that tourist swell Savannahs numbers greatly and that UGA is almost all of Athens' numbers. If we look at the service each city provides to its actual residents I would have to say Macon.

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Well, the rail is an interesting thing. I am not sure exactly how it woudl affect Macon. I think the most likely thing will be the intensification of land use around the train station(s) if they are done right. You will definately see a surge in the population that commutes to Atlanta.

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In your opinion, which of these four second tier GA cities has the best public transit system, and WHY? Also consider that Macon will have rail transit in about 5 years and Savannah through Macon in about 8 years.

I lived in Columbus for about a year in like 2003 or 2002 and the bus system was incredible, I believe they are also looking into putting in trolleys. The only thing about light rail in many Southern cities, Atlanta included, is how many people actually use them. Now the numbers may have changed since I live in Atlanta (2004ish) but the ridership on the MARTA was really low. I live in Boston now, as I have for most of my life and despite the fact that most people complain about the MBTA it is always packed during morning and evening commutes along with weekends.

I also remember being in Columbus and explaining the joys of heavy and light rail and people would look at me in utter astonishment that such a thing works well. Now as I have never been to Savannah, Macon or Augusta I cannot vouch for those areas, but do you think that light, or heavy rail for that matter, would actually catch on and work for those cities? Because while living in Columbus I was under the impression that it would not, and while in Atlanta I always thought that the public heavy rail was destined for failure. Maybe I'm wrong though.

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I lived in Columbus for about a year in like 2003 or 2002 and the bus system was incredible, I believe they are also looking into putting in trolleys. The only thing about light rail in many Southern cities, Atlanta included, is how many people actually use them. Now the numbers may have changed since I live in Atlanta (2004ish) but the ridership on the MARTA was really low. I live in Boston now, as I have for most of my life and despite the fact that most people complain about the MBTA it is always packed during morning and evening commutes along with weekends.

I also remember being in Columbus and explaining the joys of heavy and light rail and people would look at me in utter astonishment that such a thing works well. Now as I have never been to Savannah, Macon or Augusta I cannot vouch for those areas, but do you think that light, or heavy rail for that matter, would actually catch on and work for those cities? Because while living in Columbus I was under the impression that it would not, and while in Atlanta I always thought that the public heavy rail was destined for failure. Maybe I'm wrong though.

Actually, a light rail/trolley system has been been discussed lately. The plan would be run a trolley from downtown to Columbus State University. CSU is building a new 40$ million dollar art and music campus downtown along the riverwalk with two 5-story dorms, 5-story parking deck for 500 cars, and several education buildings. Since students would have to travel from main campus to downtown for some classes, the city is looking into using an old rail line to connect main campus with the new downtown campus. I believe this would be a huge success because not only does it connect a huge area of Columbus, it goes right through the medical district. The route would go along Talbotton Road which is a high traffic road that is soon going to be 4-laned. People could use the rail system to go downtown, stop off at the medical district, go to CSU main campus, or go shopping at Peachtree Mall which is across from Columbus State.

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I agree as well that tourist swell Savannahs numbers greatly and that UGA is almost all of Athens' numbers.

Having attended UGA, I would say that 99.9% of UGA students DID NOT ride Athens transit. This is what I saw with my own eyes. UGA has it's own very thorough transit system. The only time I could see a student riding Athens transit was to go to the Georgia Square Mall or Walmart :sick: a few miles west on the Atlanta Hwy. This however did not occur much. Most students from what I saw drove or lived close enough to campus to use the schools transit system.

In the years I was there, I probably rode Athens transit twice. Once to see how it was to ride public transportation and the other was because there was an event that I had to make at the ADPi house on Milledge Ave and my car was parked at the Creswell Hall parking lot. I would have never made it. How it is now I don't know....but I doubt it changed much from when I was there....except that the campus has grown even further east.

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I lived in Columbus for about a year in like 2003 or 2002 and the bus system was incredible, I believe they are also looking into putting in trolleys. The only thing about light rail in many Southern cities, Atlanta included, is how many people actually use them. Now the numbers may have changed since I live in Atlanta (2004ish) but the ridership on the MARTA was really low. I live in Boston now, as I have for most of my life and despite the fact that most people complain about the MBTA it is always packed during morning and evening commutes along with weekends.

Actually I thought I read either on here or on Marta's website that ridership for the rail line is 285,000 per day. That would be a consideral amount of people considering the limited area serviced.

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Having attended UGA, I would say that 99.9% of UGA students DID NOT ride Athens transit. This is what I saw with my own eyes. UGA has it's own very thorough transit system. The only time I could see a student riding Athens transit was to go to the Georgia Square Mall or Walmart :sick: a few miles west on the Atlanta Hwy. This however did not occur much. Most students from what I saw drove or lived close enough to campus to use the schools transit system.

In the years I was there, I probably rode Athens transit twice. Once to see how it was to ride public transportation and the other was because there was an event that I had to make at the ADPi house on Milledge Ave and my car was parked at the Creswell Hall parking lot. I would have never made it. How it is now I don't know....but I doubt it changed much from when I was there....except that the campus has grown even further east.

From wa I understad, the transit on campus at UGA is some how tied to Athen Transit and their numbers are actually combined. I could be worng though ill check.

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Looks like Augusta used to have 18 routes but has cut back to only 14 now, (still more routes than either Macon or Columbus) but less ridership. I wonder why the drastic drop after 2003?

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Looks like Augusta used to have 18 routes but has cut back to only 14 now, (still more routes than either Macon or Columbus) but less ridership. I wonder why the drastic drop after 2003?

Hasn't Augusta's population being going down every year?

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Hasn't Augusta's population being going down every year?

The census "estimates" show it slowly declining, and it wouldn't surprise me if those "estimates" are pretty accurate, considering the rediculous growth in suburban Columbia County (though S. Richmond Co is also growing steadily).

As far as Augusta's bus system is concerned, the only major news is that a line will start soon that will cross the 13th St. bridge into downtown North Augusta, tieing Augusta's system in with Aiken County's and hopefully giving a nice boost to ridership (the old setup had NO lines running across state lines). Also there are some minor route alignment changes that will make the Augusta Exchange route more useful.

I can't comment on how useful/efficient the system is, as I've never been on it.

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UGA has a deal with Athens Transit so that if you have a UGA ID you can ride Athens busses 'for free' because you already paid for it as part of your fees. I do remember reading somewhere though that the Athens Transit was the best/most efficient in the state, or something like that. There are also some lines of Athens Transit that serve mostly UGA areas, and UGA students do use those, alot. There's a few that run right through campus, and I've seen them overflowing during class changes. UGA has been trying to encourage less students to have cars, and make the campus more pedestrian friendly, so that should add to bus ridership.

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That sounds like a good plan. I wish Macon could tie its campuses together like that. All four of our major colleges are spread out all over the city and county. Maybe theyll find some way to connect the campuses and increase ridership. Right now the only campuses that have a substantial amount of riders is Macon State and Macon Tech.

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I lived in Columbus for about a year in like 2003 or 2002 and the bus system was incredible, I believe they are also looking into putting in trolleys. The only thing about light rail in many Southern cities, Atlanta included, is how many people actually use them. Now the numbers may have changed since I live in Atlanta (2004ish) but the ridership on the MARTA was really low. I live in Boston now, as I have for most of my life and despite the fact that most people complain about the MBTA it is always packed during morning and evening commutes along with weekends.

I also remember being in Columbus and explaining the joys of heavy and light rail and people would look at me in utter astonishment that such a thing works well. Now as I have never been to Savannah, Macon or Augusta I cannot vouch for those areas, but do you think that light, or heavy rail for that matter, would actually catch on and work for those cities? Because while living in Columbus I was under the impression that it would not, and while in Atlanta I always thought that the public heavy rail was destined for failure. Maybe I'm wrong though.

The thing with rial systems is that you need a certain amount of density to make it useful. Cities like Columbus and Augusta liekely do not have enough of it to make it worthwhile... yet.

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^

that's my pont though if a city like Atlanta is staying around 250,000 than why would we think it is worthwhile to put it into a Columbus, Augusta or Macon. I could see light rail working for tourists in Savannah but as a major mode of transportation I just don't think those areas are cut out for it. I think the busses work fine.

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