"Public Transportation (also called transit, public transit, or mass transit) is transportation by a conveyance that provides regular and continuing general or special transportation to the public, but not including school buses, charter or sightseeing service.”
– American Public Transit Association
Transit Mode Options
Based on a community’s population and job density, a variety of transit mode options become feasible for consideration.
Fare and Fare Product Types
There are a variety of fare product types available for transit operators to leverage as they provide mobility options to their customers. For example, the Newton County Senior Center currently offers transportation to and from the senior center for residents aged 55 years and older at a flat fare of $2 per day. There are many other options of fares, as shown in the Fare Policy Types figure.
Benefits of Transit
Public transit is a crucial mobility option for many people across Georgia. There are many different benefits to having a public transportation option, including:
Local economies benefit as many employers prefer to locate in places with diverse transportation options for their employees.
According to research by the Center for Neighborhood Technology in 2013, residential sales prices were more resilient for homes near transit – and this held true for all property types. (source: https://www.apta.com/wp-content/uploads/Resources/resources/statistics/Documents/NewRealEstateMantra.pdf)
Public transportation can provide much-needed access to health care facilities and community resources to residents without a car, or who are unable to drive due to age or ability.
The American Public Transit Association (APTA) calculates that every $1 invested in public transportation generates $5 in economic returns. (source: https://www.apta.com/news-publications/public-transportation-facts/ )
Transit In Georgia
Transit systems across the state of Georgia provide more than 144 million passenger trips each year, connecting Georgians to jobs, healthcare, shopping, and educational opportunities. There are 92 different public transit systems in Georgia, and 88 percent of Georgia residents live within the service area of at least one public transit system.
In fact, rural Georgians are currently served by 80 different transit systems. Rural transit is often demand-response and can be provided using cutaway buses or vans. Of these systems, 72 operate as individual counties, five systems operate rural public transit serving regions or multiple jurisdictions, and three are operated by single municipalities. Twenty-six rural systems contract their services to third party operators (TPOs), which can be non-profit organizations or for-profit companies
Georgia Transit Service by Type (source: GDOT Statewide Transit Plan)
The Future Of Transit
Leaders across Georgia have recognized the value of public transit to both rural and urban communities. More than 120 counties in Georgia have some form of transit already, and the options for transit are only improving as we move into the future.
Public transit is becoming more and more flexible in order to serve the specific needs of each community; there are more options than ever before in terms of vehicle types, scheduling, communicating with customers, and collecting fares. For example, services such as Microtransit are being explored throughout the country and right here in Georgia. This modal option typically operates small-scale, on-demand public transit services that can offer fixed, scheduled or flexible routes, and on-demand scheduling. Demand-Response / Dial-a-Ride and Deviated / Flex Route Bus Service are two of the most common types of Microtransit. This modal type may employ the use of smartphone technology to summon the bus or notify a driver of a rider’s location for pick-up and/or drop-off.
However, Microtransit is only the beginning. Currently, transit agencies are implementing the use of electric vehicles to reduce air quality impacts, providing greater access to real-time bus arrival information, testing the use of autonomous or self-driving vehicles, and more! These advancements strive to provide riders with greater travel options, rider information, and ways to access transit, improving the passenger journey experience for all.