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Need a ride?
New public transportation program up and running
(From left) Allen Feather with the Regional Van Pool Program, Coastal Regional Commission (CRC) Executive Director Allen Burns, CRC Council Member representing the City of Kingsland Clarence Knight, CRC Council Member representing Bulloch County Walter Gibson, CRC Chairman Dan Coty and CRC Transportation Director Barbara Hurst at Wednesday’s press conference.

Need a ride? Bryan County residents can now utilize public transportation to take them anywhere within Coastal Georgia for a minimal fee – or anywhere inside the county for just $3.

Terry Taylor, Director of Transportation for Bryan County Social Services, said there is a great need in Bryan County for this type of service.

"I think it’s the most wonderful thing that’s happened in Bryan County in a long time, and it’s going to help a lot of people – from the elderly to people needing to get back and forth to work," said Terry Taylor, Director of Transportation for Bryan County Social Services. "I’ve been waiting for this day to come, and it’s finally here. Especially with the economy the way it is, this is going to save a ton of money for a lot of people."

After four years of planning, the $2 million program, called Coastal Regional Coaches, has been implemented in Bryan, as well as Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh and Screven, by the Coastal Regional Commission of Georgia (CRC), formerly known as the Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center (CGRDC).

The CRC held a press conference Wednesday at the Richmond Hill Quality Inn, which included giving members of the media a ride on one of two brand new 12-passenger buses that were on display. A total of 60 buses are scheduled to be put into use throughout Coastal Georgia by year’s end.

Here are some quick facts about Coastal Regional Coaches:

- Riders must call at least 24 hours in advance to schedule a pick-up. The toll free number is (866) 543-6744.

- Coastal Regional Coaches will pick you up at your residence and deliver you directly to wherever you want to go within Coastal Georgia.

- The service is available to anyone who lives or works in Coastal Georgia and can be utilized for any purpose.

- Cost is $3 for one-way or $6 for round trip within Bryan County. If travelling outside the county, a $3 charge is added to each county line that is crossed.

- The service is to be available Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

CRC Transportation Director Barbara Hurst said this program will help fill an existing gap for those with mobility limitations "and allow them to live more independently." She said it will also allow low income workers to commute more affordably.

"If you have a low wage job where you have to drive two or three counties out to get there, you’ve pretty much exhausted your salary maintaining your vehicle and providing fuel," Hurst said. "With this program, you can spend your money on household expenses rather than commuting to work."

Another program was introduced at the press conference, which is tailor made for helping with work commutes. The van pool program, which is available now, essentially provides a van and state-federal funds for operating costs to a group of five to fifteen employees that would be willing to commute together.

CRC Chairman Dan Coty said FLETC in Brunswick is already utilizing the programs, and "We’ll be contacting all the major employers in the region and letting them know that this program is available."

Hurst said Coastal Regional Coaches will eventually implement a full-scale dispatch center and mobile data terminals on the buses, which will allow the use of smart cards.

"All an individual will have to do is swipe their card and get on the bus, which will make it easier to determine an accurate fare," Hurst said.

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