Albany Transit System Director David Hamilton, left, talks with Monroe Davis about changes in the Albany Transit System during an public forum at the government center Wednesday.
ALBANY, Ga. — Albany Transit System patrons trickled in at the downtown Government Center Wednesday afternoon to discuss their concerns in a forum designed by transit officials to educate the public and to get passengers’ feedback on ways to better the system.
Transit Director David Hamilton and Planner Tennasha Gresham spoke individually to attendees, who were asked to complete a survey on their experiences with the Transit System.
“We want to educate the public on specific transit routes, and we want to let them know about the new flex routes,” Hamilton, who was named transit director on July 30 after more than a decade with the system, said. “We also want to get their feedback, find out ways they think we can do a better job.”
Regular Albany Transit passenger Monroe Davis said he and others with limited transportation opportunities felt they’d had “our rights taken away” when the system discontinued Sunday service.
“It’s like (officials) are saying to us, ‘If you live on the east side, if you live on the south side, if you live on the west side (and you have no transportation), well, just stay where you are’,” Davis said. “Not all churches send out buses, and there are people who have to struggle to find a way to get to their jobs.
“There are average Joe’s like us who have no way of getting anywhere without (the transit service).”
Hamilton said Transit System officials are particularly interested in the public’s perception of the new flex routes, which will allow passengers with a specific destination who are located within relatively close proximity to the route to be picked up at no additional charge.
“As long as (passengers) give us at least two hours lead time, we’ll be able to deviate our routes but do so in an efficient manner that will not add to our costs,” Hamilton said. “It’s something we think will give added benefit to the services we provide.”
Linda Sootsman, a part-time instructor at Albany State University, said her purposes for attending Wednesday’s meeting were twofold.
“I usually walk, but I also ride the transit bus on occasion, especially if the weather is bad,” Sootsman said. “I’m also a Strive2Thrive ally, and I want to find out what is available for others who might rely on transit services. I think it’s important to know what’s available.”
Gresham said forums like the one held Wednesday will benefit the Transit System as well as its riders.
“Our goal is to provide more efficient service,” she said. “By providing this information to our customers and getting feedback from them, it’s going to benefit both of us.”