Macon my way downtown
By Summer Perritt, Tabita Strimbu, Jayla Moody
Macon residents are curious and they asked: How is the Macon Transit Authority serving the Macon community? What is it like for residents who rely on Macon transit as their means of transportation?
As Sherri Morris makes her way onto the bus, she inserts a dollar and a quarter into the fare box. For those relying on the Macon Transit Authority as their means of transportation, this is a daily ritual.
“Sometimes it breaks down, sometimes they’re late… [but] it’s very good for the people here in Macon to have a bus system. Period,” Morris said.
Morris said the bus system helps her get around Macon because she does not like driving. She enjoys riding the bus to meet new people.
The Macon Transit Authority has buses that run all over the city, with their base at the Macon Terminal Station in downtown.
MTA has an operational team that decides where each route runs based on community input and need. Those needs are sometimes expressed by business partners, politicians or community members themselves.
“The community will bring it to our attention that there may be a need out there for it in that community,” said Richard Jones, General Manager and CEO of the Macon Transit Authority.
Once the need for a new bus route has been brought to their attention, the MTA will send out their operations team to determine the route, the number of buses and the cost associated with running the route.
They then take these issues to local politicians that work to fund the projects for the MTA.
Funding comes from a combination of fare boxes, supports from the federal and local government and the community.
The MTA hopes to better serve the community by expanding their bus routes to the Southern portion of the city.
“The issue is that we have only a set amount [of funds] that is available which is pretty much what limits us with being able to go to more places,” said Jones.
Jones said that the bus routes they do have are well developed in parts of the city and that MTA strives to maintain those routes with the funds they can secure.
Riders of MTA buses raise other concerns about the public transportation they frequent, citing issues with the quality of the rides and a desire for more, newer buses.
“I hope that pretty soon they will be getting new buses,” said Brenda Kemp, a frequent rider of MTA transportation.
Jones also expressed an interest in obtaining better quality rides for Macon residents in the near future. But ultimately, it would come down to funding yet again.
For now, the Macon community is mostly positive about the services that the Macon Transit Authority provides.
“I’ve been dealing with the [Macon Transit Authority] for a long time…and I’m coming back,” Kemp said.