Written by Kelsey Dickerson, Staff Writer
A new public transit system is coming to Valdosta this year that could help students without access to cars get off campus and into the city.
The route mapped out by the new shuttles will include nine stops but won’t come directly to VSU. JD Dillard, coordinator of the Transit and Mobility Department of the Southern Georgia Regional Commission (SGRC), notes that the closest bus stop to students living on campus is between north campus and Woodrow Wilson Dr.
The walk to the bust stop may be worth it for students who want better access to the mall and downtown Valdosta, or those who want to pick up a few groceries at Wal-Mart other than during the scheduled weekly bus from campus. Dillard does say that comments “from riders and community partners” can play a role in determining other routes and stops, meaning that the shuttle could become more accessible to students if ridership numbers went up.
There will be no cost to use the shuttle, though students who wish to ride must fill out the consumer registration form provided on SGRC’s website. Dillard says that money from the service has come from the Department of Human Service’s “New Freedom” funds which are used to help citizens with disabilities better integrate into the work force and participate in the community.
Because the shuttles are meant for members of the community who require assistance to get to their jobs or to town during the workday, the system may not be worth much use to students; who often have friends with cars and who usually attend class during the operating hours of the new shuttle.
“They [Valdosta State] kind of already do that. On Thursday’s the bus takes you to the mall,” said Richard Brito, a freshman business major.
The shuttle system is being put into place by the Transit and Mobility Department of the Southern Georgia Regional Commission (SGRC) and the Georgia DHS. A bus will run every hour Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday’s from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.