Draft for strategic plan to improve local public transportation discussed | News

Saturday service and occasional service to the Riverside Village at Hammond’s Ferry development in North Augusta are among the recommendations of a Florida-based consulting firm to improve public transportation in Aiken County.

Joel Rey of Tindale Oliver discussed the details of the draft of a strategic plan developed by his company for the Lower Savannah Council of Governments, or LSCOG, during a presentation at the Aiken County Government Center on Wednesday.

In the audience were S.C. Sen. Tom Young, R-Aiken; S.C. Rep. Ronnie Young, R-North Augusta; Aiken County Administrator Clay Killian; Aiken City Councilwoman Gail Diggs; and United Way of Aiken County President Sharon Rodgers.

LSCOG is the administrator for Best Friend Express and the Dial-A-Ride service for people with disabilities that make it difficult for them to ride Best Friend Express buses.

Best Friend Express has three routes – blue, green and red – and the operating hours for its buses are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The cost to ride is $2. There also are discounted fares of $1.50 for students and $1 for senior citizens and the disabled.

The annual operating and capital expenditures for Best Friend Express and Dial-A-Ride are $634,763, and there is a local match of those funds of $94,500, Rey said.

Using figures from the American Public Transportation Association, he estimated that Best Friend Express and Dial-A-Ride’s economic impact is $1,904,289.

Adding Saturday service would require an additional annual operating expenditure of $124,848 and a local match of $38,889, Rey said. Service 12 days per year for events at Riverside Village, where the new Augusta GreenJackets baseball stadium, SRP Park, is under construction, would require an annual operating expenditure of $3,456.

Tindale Oliver’s other recommendations included efficiency improvements on…

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