Living. Growing. Prospering.
Douglasville, GA - The new Connect Douglas bus service is off to a good start. Since launching on June 20, 2019, the service has had a total of 4,852 boardings through mid-September, which averages out to about 69 per day.
The boardings include basic fixed route, flex route and Americans with Disabilities (ADA) paratransit. "It is important to know the difference in the three levels of service," Connect Douglas Director Gary Watson said. "With fixed route, buses travel along the same path at the same times every day. Flex route offers limited curb-to-curb service, while paratransit offers door-to-door service for eligible riders. Fixed route does not require a reservation; flex and paratransit do."
Watson explained, "Fixed route is simple. You use the schedules for our four routes to plan your trip. You go to one of our almost 100 bus stops, pay your fare, board the bus and travel to your destination. Our schedules list all of our stops and the times the bus will be at the stops. We operate Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays 7 a.m. to 8 p.m."
Another important point to remember, according to Watson, is that all Connect Douglas bus services operate within the confines of Douglas County. However, Route 40 connects with Cobb LINC adjacent to the EpiCenter Church near the Six Flags Park. With this connection, a rider has access to MARTA at the H.E. Holmes station.
Watson said flex serves individuals who need a pick-up or drop-off that is not directly on one of the four routes. The bus will deviate from its normal route up to one mile in order to pick up a rider. Flex pick-ups are on the curb; the bus will not travel down driveways. An advance reservation is required for flex. A flex reservation can be made up to 24 hours in advance, or as late as two hours before a pick-up is needed.
Once the flex rider is picked up, the bus will return to its normal route. Then, the bus can flex another mile off its route to take the rider to their destination, or the rider can transfer to another Connect Douglas bus. That bus can, in turn, deviate one mile off its route to deliver the rider to their destination.
In order for the fixed route bus to operate on time and on schedule, Watson explained, the number of flex trips allowed are limited. It is important for a potential rider to remember that a flex trip may not be available for the time they request. Also, a flex rider must be at the stop at the scheduled time for pick-up. Flex does not have any wait time built into its schedule.
Anyone can use flex. That is not the case with ADA paratransit. An individual must go through a qualification process with Connect Douglas to be eligible for paratransit, which is designed mainly for individuals with a disability. Once an individual is certified for paratransit through the Connect Douglas process, they can schedule a ride. The same one mile rule that applies to flex applies to paratransit.
Watson said, "This is the important thing to remember: The one big difference between flex and paratransit is that one (flex) is open to everyone who lives within our one-mile zone, and the other (paratransit) is based on eligibility for people who are unable to access fixed route and is door-to-door service within our one-mile zone."
All Connect Douglas vehicles are equipped with wheelchair lifts.
For a paratransit trip, an individual can be picked up at a location one mile off a route and taken to a destination one mile off any of the four Connect Douglas routes. An ADA paratransit rider does not have to transfer to another Connect Douglas bus to be taken to their destination that is one mile off any of the four routes.
For flex, riders pay the standard fare of $2.50 for a one-way trip or the discounted fare of $1 for senior adults, students or individuals with disabilities.
The price for a one-way paratransit trip is $1,Flex and paratransit operate during the same hours as fixed route.
Watson added, "Our goal is to have as many of our patrons as possible utilize our standard fixed route service. But we know there are some cases where that is not possible. That's why we have flex and paratransit. But people do need to understand that flex and paratransit are not for everyone. There are rules we have to follow in providing these special services."
To schedule a flex or paratransit trip, call 770-949-7665, option 1. Then, select 1 for paratransit and 3 for flex.
For general information about Connect Douglas services, call 770-949-7665, option 5.