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Nickel Rides

August 11, 2010

If you’ve ever even been on Buford Highway, you’ve seen those funny colored short buses. Some are orange, some are grey, but they run up and down the road, picking up passengers anywhere and everywhere and they don’t say MARTA. That’s because they’re jitney buses, privately owned buses that offer transit service. The term jitney is actually an old-fashioned one for nickel, which is what the fare would have cost you decades ago.

Jitney buses pick up the slack when there’s no transit or when transit’s not meeting the needs of the people. The jitney buses along Buford came about to serve the Hispanic community, and their fares are on par with MARTA’s or cheaper and their drivers speak Spanish. It actually surprises me that they aren’t more bilingual drivers MARTA. Are there any?

In Clayton County, jitney buses started cropping up after CTran shut down. It’s been reported that some of those services are costing upwards of $7 to $10 a trip. The most recent service to crop up has been QuickTransit, which was started by a house wife in July. They have twenty drivers, five buses that seat 40, and six paratransit vans. The fare is $3.50, twice that of Ctran and they’re currently serving two of the old Ctran routes.

I think it’s great that someone is offering something to Clayton County, they won’t be getting anything else anytime soon (look for my rant on that tomorrow). My goal is to get down there and ride on QuickTransit, but until then I’m going to run across the street and get on a Buford Highway jitney. I’ll post pictures later, and maybe a video!

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