Liberty Transit Redux
"I Don't Mind A Parasite. I Object To A Cut-Rate One."
Last comment by sebekm 2 years, 2 months ago.

Take Me To Post Comment Form

One item I didn't want to go unnoticed was a Sound Off comment in this past Sunday's print Courier regarding ridership on Liberty Transit:

"I was behind the Liberty County Transit bus today going to Fort Stewart, and I asked the gate guard, "How many people normally ride the transit bus?" I was told, out of nine buses entering Fort Stewart, there are only three people riding them. NORMALLY THERE'S JUST A BUS DRIVER, I WAS TOLD (Emphasis added). This is fraud, waste and abuse of federal, state and local tax dollars."

This comment provides further anecdotal evidence in support of my blog at:

http://community.coastalcourier.com/blogs/detail/15597/

I hadn't thought of canvassing the gate guards at Fort Stewart regarding Liberty Transit ridership, so thanks to this Sound Off caller for inquiring.

If you want to stop this "fraud, waste and abuse" of your tax dollars, I urge everyone to make their voices heard on this issue. There are many ways for you to do so: You can attend the meetings and speak up; call Sound Off; post comments here; write letters to the editor. Heck, you can even call or write City Hall and send a message to the Mayor telling him that you are tired of wasteful spending in support of Liberty Transit. Contact information is here:

http://www.cityofhinesville.org/index.aspx?NID=185


Latest Activity: Aug 15, 2012 at 2:14 PM


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JimmyMack commented on Wednesday, Aug 15, 2012 at 14:51 PM

Ah Sebe...brother...at this point in time I do not know if you can rally enough support to rectify all the wrong bone headed snafus committed by our local representatives. Feeel free to give it a go tho. I have, but to no avail.

People seem to listen or read your words. You may can turn out to be that voice in the wilderness and get their attention.

Hinesville is kinda like the HBO mini-series Deadwood. Its feast or famine here. WE are a soldier town. The locals are dying out. Due to the transient population it is doubtful that anything of civic value can get past the powers that be.

Anyhow...Good luck.

timeontarget commented on Wednesday, Aug 15, 2012 at 15:26 PM

sebekm,
you are onto something here but your friend Jimmy Mack has hit the nail "straight on the head"

A public transit is I think in the future of this transient community.

However it must be managed in a superior manner to the way that it has been managed to this point.

sebekm commented on Wednesday, Aug 15, 2012 at 15:57 PM

Hi Jimmy: I understand. If I am nothing else, I'm a thick-headed crusader - once I latch onto an issue. My hope is that if enough wheels squeak and we get enough "sunshine" on this issue (i.e., the extreme lack of ridership), the local "deadwoods" will be compelled to act. Thanks for your sympathies.

Hi TOT: I'm not sure that Jimmy has said public transit is in the future of this community. At least - that's not what I see, when after two years the vast majority of the buses that run around town all day long ARE OCCUPIED ONLY BY THE DRIVERS.

Their only saving grace (as in hiding the problem from the public) is that the bus windows are so tinted that you can't see how empty the buses always are. But as I said in another post, my daughter is one who DOES ride the buses frequently (2-3 times per week), and she tells me that there are rarely ANY other riders on the buses when she's on one.

I guess a FOIA request might get the true cost and how much red ink is being run up. But it seems to be simple common sense that you can't wait "10 years" for a bus system to catch on - while at the same time complaining that you don't have enough money to pay for other transportation projects - and and THEN you try to raise taxes.

That's B.S. WE THE PEOPLE need to put a stop to it.

Graeme245 commented on Wednesday, Aug 15, 2012 at 18:53 PM

I hate what Liberty Transit is costing the taxpayer, I'm in the "grey area" of handicapped and some days I must use the bus to go to my appointments at the hospital on post when it isn't possible for my husband to drive me or drive myself. I won't take a local cab because of medical comfort & perceived personal safety. I refuse to burden the taxpayer with "federal sponsored" transport, to which I'm entitled, a trip from my home in Hinesville to Winn non-emergency when I'm unable to drive would cost in excess of $100.00 billable...

I have yet to see a positive media campaign to encourage any use of any program that doesn't sucks on the tit of the local taxpayer. If it comes from the government it comes with a much higher price tag than any private enterprise.

sebekm commented on Wednesday, Aug 15, 2012 at 23:30 PM

"...some days I must use the bus to go to my appointments at the hospital on post..."

Did you mean that you use Liberty Transit on those days? I think that if the local leadership actually wanted to promote the use of Liberty Transit, they could start by using it THEMSELVES and publicize that use.

But I agree - I've seen nothing really to promote usage other than the fanfare that accompanied its start-up. There was talk about additional revenue from advertising on the buses (inside and out?), but I haven't seen any of that either. And with the ridership at such low levels, why would any business waste its money to advertise on buses that nobody rides?

timeontarget commented on Thursday, Aug 16, 2012 at 06:32 AM

sebekm, I meant that Jimmy Mack had it right by saying you probably are not going to get local officials to be reasonable regarding the transit system.

It seems that he was also implying that local elected officials were boneheaded and I agree with his assessment.

timeontarget commented on Thursday, Aug 16, 2012 at 06:39 AM

It is my personal opinion that someway we need to create a public transit system as this is a transient community and it would be nice to be able to catch a bus to go across town.

I've seen the empty buses and wondered if people will ever choose to ride them.

I commute from the home to the shop every day a distance of less than three miles.

The bus comes close to my home and goes right past my shop but I'd have to walk a half mile to board and another half mile after getting off so I don't ride it.

up2sumptin commented on Thursday, Aug 16, 2012 at 08:52 AM

People will not ride them as long as it is more of a chore to ride them, than not to. It needs to expand into the housing areas so that the elderly, disabled and mothers with small children don't have to walk a mile or more to get to a bus stop.

sebekm commented on Thursday, Aug 16, 2012 at 11:50 AM

TOT: Thanks for clearing that up. I understand.

up2 and TOT: Yes - more convenient stops might increase ridership, but I think you have to have a basic need in the first place. Here's how I see it:

*The vast majority of people in this communit have cars. Their schedules and activities make it impactical to use Liberty Transit - even if they just wanted to do so to be "civic-minded."

*Ideally, you'd want the system to be convenient for everyone who wants to use it, but you shouldn't run a mass transit system unless it has a CHANCE of paying for itself. I don't recall a huge outcry for the system before we had it, and I don't see a huge outcry to keep it in place. I believe that one of the main reasons many people voted AGAINST TSPLOST was that it included funding to continue Liberty Transit.

*If you aren't careful, a failed mass transit system can become a huge sink-hole for funding. The best example I have is in my old home town - Chicago, IL. When I was growing up, I rode the bus most everywhere because I had little choice: our family never had a car until I bought one when I was 18. Even in Chicago - where the buses snake through just about every community in the city and they have the elevated trains - the projected DEFICIT for the Chicago Transit Authority for 2012 is 277 MILLION DOLLARS.

See: http://www.nbcchicago.com/traffic/tra...

Chicago now has some of the highest taxes in the nation, and the Chicago Transit Authority is a large part of the reason. But in Chicago, few people dispute that a system is necessary. I don't see that here in Hinesville/Liberty County.

While it may be "nice to have" and give our local politicians "bragging rights" when they rub elbows with those from the larger cities, I don't see a real need for Liberty Transit. In austere times, if you don't really NEED something, it's foolish to throw good money after bad.

And we can't afford foolishness when it comes to our tax dollars.

JimmyMack commented on Thursday, Aug 16, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Truth be told: the Liberty County Development Authority uses the bus transit system as a 'recruiting card' if you will, to persuade 'interested business entities to our fair community. Mush like they utilize LRMC as their 'universal" health card. They paint a broad picture of civic amenities that serve as encouragement to come here and bring their rug rats with them.

It is all about the dollar bill. Please follow your property taxes as they will continue to go up even with an ever expanding tax base of new development. There are 48 planned multi family dwellings being constructed near where I live. You think that expansion will help the rest of us home and property owners?

We are in Deadwood. As long as the population is transient, and it will be for a long time, we the home and property owners now living here will be paying out the ya-zoo to increase: buildings of grandeur for our elected officials, allow them to vote themselves exorbitant raises for the 'work' they are doing, while selling the rest of us a dog and pony show of 'Liberty County Growth and prosperity' that is interpreted as all being good for us.

I, for the record, am to the point of cashing in my meager amount of chips and considering heading to a condo like environment complete with ground maintenence, a smallish HOA fee and kicking back somewhere near an ocean.

I have lived here all my life; cept for going off for some learnin' and am getting a very close hand look at Liberty County's demise.

I think I want to skip the final rites and order up another Marquerita.

Iknowyou commented on Thursday, Aug 16, 2012 at 14:34 PM

Be careful Jimmy, some of those Condo HOA fees are sometimes more than a house payment. I backed out of buying a condo on the beach in Florida because the HOA fees were $800.00 per month and the Condo was a repo for only $6500 cash.

sebekm commented on Thursday, Aug 16, 2012 at 17:41 PM

"...kicking back somewhere near an ocean..."

Aaaah, yes - The Good Life.

"....and order up another Marquerita...

Aaaah, yes - The Elixir of Life.

gacpl commented on Thursday, Aug 16, 2012 at 21:46 PM

I called it a waste last year.

sebekm commented on Friday, Aug 17, 2012 at 12:21 PM

You did - as I recall you called it "a waste" before it was in operation for a full year. My time line for making that determination was somewhat longer (24 months), but I believed that you had to give it a real chance to "catch on." I guess everybody's "reasonable time line" is different, but I definitely don't agree with Charles Frasier's "10 year" deadline. No matter WHERE the money is coming from for that length of time, the accumulated waste is TOO excessive if you let a stinker go for that long.

gacpl commented on Friday, Aug 17, 2012 at 20:53 PM

i based my decision on the routes. they are going to more of housing then hinesville. soldiers have to have a car or they are not allowed to live out of the barracks, to include housing. the wives will not take a bus if they have a car. they will get up early to drive there husbands to work just so they can have the car.

sebekm commented on Saturday, Aug 18, 2012 at 11:51 AM

It's my understanding that they've adjusted the routes; added new stops; are building shelters. But if the ridership isn't there, you are basically spinning wheels.

My current sense is that only by offering a "door-to-door," practically "on-call" service will they get SOME semblance of decent ridership. I can't imagine that there will ever be enough for the system pay for itself. As I said, look at Chicago. They have a demonstrated NEED, and lots of riders. They run through all the neighborhoods and even have rapid transit train service. And even THEN - if you don't manage it properly - it becomes an annual quarter-of-a-BILLION-dollar loser.

But two years ago here in Liberty County - once you got the buses, hired the drivers and the administrative personnel, and actually began the experiment - you had to give it more than just a few months to "catch on." That was my basic disagreement with you.

It's been two years. That's long enough.


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