As the August 16th mayoral runoff approaches, issues such as transportation will be front and center and C. Jack Ellis believes improving the transit system is vital in an effort to reduce poverty and boost economic development.
The mission of the Macon Transit Authority is the following: The MTA is to be primary provider of high quality, affordable buses and vans to the Macon-Bibb County Community that will increase the use of public transportation. The Authority is dedicated to maintaining an efficient, progressive, cost-conscious organization that provides a fair and equitable return to its stakeholders as it carries out its vision to become a nationally recognized public transportation system.
Is the Macon-Bibb County Transit Authority truly serving the community and living up to its mission? If not, then the upcoming August 16th runoff election provides an opportunity for citizens of Macon to make a statement via the ballot along with an opportunity to moving in a new direction.
Many citizens depend on the transit system as their sole source of transportation of getting around the city of Macon and Bibb County.
Whether its going to work during the week or church on Sundays or going downtown to handle matters such as banking along with shopping for necessities, the need for a reliable transportation system which is responsive to the needs of the citizens is vital to Central Georgia’s largest city.
On July 12th, Ellis had held a press conference to address this pressing problem and offered his plan to improve transportation system in the city of Macon. Ellis elaborated that he plans to instruct the Macon Transit Authority to have buses available to run on Sundays. Additionally, Ellis wants covered shelters at every bus stop.
The current general manager and CEO of the Macon-Bibb County Transit Authority is Rick Jones and he oversees the overall operations.
Many passengers who ride on the local buses have expressed that the Macon Transit Authority hasn’t lived up to their mission and changes must be made.
Even though we are in 2011 and not 1955, African-Americans still make up a majority part of the paying customers to Macon’s transit system.
The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a political and social protest campaign that started in 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama intended to oppose the city’s policy of racial segregation on its public transit system. Many important figures in the civil rights movement were involved in the boycott, including Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
The boycott got the attention of the Montgomery public transit system, because the Montgomery’s black population who were the principal protestors were also the majority of their transit system’s paying customers.
The campaign lasted from December 1, 1955, when Rosa Parks, an African American woman, was arrested for refusing to surrender her seat to a white person, to December 20, 1956, when a federal ruling, Browder v. Gayle, took effect, and led to a United States Supreme Court decision that declared the Alabama and Montgomery laws requiring segregated buses to be unconstitutional.
In 2011, Ellis says adding an Amtrak service and Greyhound buses to Terminal Station should be a part of the solution to improve Macon’s transit system.
For these projects to become a reality, voting for representatives who will fight for funding and implementing progressive ideas to improve the Terminal Station and the Macon-Bibb Transit Authority is needed and Ellis says he would apply for federal grants and consider raising the ridership fee in an effort to pay for improvements.