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Valdosta adds Via transit system

Posted at 9:38 PM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 21:38:18-04

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — In less than a week, low-fare rides will only be a call or click away for people planning to move around the city of Valdosta.

City leaders will welcome five vehicles from turn-key transit company Via to shift their transit offerings into the next gear.

"We’re kind of in an unusual situation in the fact that we are not large enough for those traditional type of fixed route systems such as a MARTA in Atlanta metro area," said Valdosta City Manager Mark Barber, "but we are large enough that we need something affordable for our citizens."

For only two dollars per trip, riders can travel alone or in a group

"Perhaps you have two or three citizens within a few blocks of each other that perhaps may want to get around the same time," Barber said. "So we’re going to create a virtual bus stop, if you will, and ask those three or four citizens to meet on the corner of a certain street and will pick everybody up."

The service will then take them to popular destinations like grocery stores, medical centers and job interviews.

"One of the major barriers to people with getting employment is transportation," says homeless task force chair Kelley Saxon, "so I think people will be able to go ahead and apply for those jobs and get those new jobs."

Salif Wahid said he will probably be one of the first customers, and plans to use the service "the same way peoples in Albany or Tallahassee would use it. I mean they are the two closest municipalities with public transportation. But yeah, the same way they would use it, go to school and go to jobs. That’s what you call an economic engine, so it’ll fall right in place with economic prosperity."

Via will collect ridership data city leaders plan to use as they look to add a more fixed-route system.