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The first initiative A4E took on was improving our public transportation system. It started with a challenge to the Mayor and Commission to put themselves in the shoes of someone who relies on the bus. How convenient would commissioners find riding the bus to a voting meeting? If the meeting lasted past 10pm, would they even be able to get home? Six sitting commissioners took Denson up on his challenge, as reported in the Athens Banner-Herald.
The A4E Transit initiative now had to decide what part of the system was in most need of improvement. Should the fares be lowered? Did the bus need to run later at night? Was increasing frequency of service most important?
The members of this initiative quickly realized that they could not make this decision alone and had to seek out the more opinions, especially from bus riders. Thus, A4E embarked on a seven-month long survey, which eventually included 343 interviews.
At the February meeting of the Mayor and Commission, A4E members revealed the early findings of their survey which showed that Sunday bus service was the most requested improvement by transit riders. A4E members also delivered letters from bus riders and from churches, such as Hill Chapel and Athens Church, who requested money for Sunday bus service to be included in the FY 2016 budget.
A few days later, an op-ed from Tim Denson was published in the Flagpole, reinforcing A4E’s message and keeping the issue in the public mind.
Not wanting to lose any opportunity, A4E members also spoke at the March meeting of the Mayor and Commission.