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Buses into Robins Daily, or BiRD, provides alternative transportation between Macon and Robins Air Force Base. With last month’s addition of a park-and-ride system in which a feeder bus transports riders to and from Ferguson Park, overall routes have been expanded at Robins to include high-occupancy areas at the south end of the base (U.S. Air Force photo by Misuzu Allen)
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BiRD privilege crucial for many riders

Posted 8/8/2014   Updated 8/8/2014 Email story   Print story

    


by Brian Shreve
Robins Public Affairs


8/8/2014 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- For many, it's a convenient way to save money and avoid wear and tear on their vehicles. Some even rely upon it as their only means of commuting to and from Robins Air Force Base - the magic bus doing its part to keep them employed.

But whatever the reason, Buses into Robins Daily, better known as the BiRD, continues to offer base personnel a solid alternative. Yes, it's popular among the many who partake in the daily free ride - now in its fourth year of service.

And they all have their stories.

"I live in Jones County, and before, I had to put aside at least $100 a week on gas for my truck," said Melvin Deberry, 78th Logistics Readiness Squadron transportation specialist. "That and maintenance to my vehicle - that's money I can save and do something else with. I just walk to the terminal, it picks me right up, takes me right back. It definitely serves its purpose."

Brooks Lindsey, 402nd Software Maintenance Group electronics engineer, began taking the BiRD three years ago while living in downtown Macon. He said when he recently purchased a house, the base's transit system played a deciding factor in choosing the location of his family's new home, only six miles away from the Westgate Shopping Center.

"If the BiRD didn't exist, I wouldn't have bought that house," he said. "I have a cheap car and don't want to put a lot of miles on it. That's why I have a cheap car. And I don't like the environmental impact of driving one person all the way to and from work."

The obvious advantage for BiRD riders is widely agreed to be the cost - nothing - for those enrolled in the Transportation Incentive Program, which offers financial reimbursement for mass transit commuters; the cost for riders not yet enrolled in TIP is $6 roundtrip.

Julie Julius, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center program manager, is another BiRD rider who, along with her husband, Denny, has been using the bus for her daily commute to and from Macon for roughly three years.

"We don't like fighting the traffic, so it's much more relaxing," she said. "I can just play with my phone and not have to pay attention to anything. And, I love how the drivers are always very conscientious in making sure those who arrived at the base with them are on the bus for the ride back. So polite and professional."

With last month's addition of a park-and-ride system in which a feeder bus transports riders to and from Ferguson Park, overall routes have been expanded at Robins to include high-occupancy areas at the south end of the base - an improvement that "is still working out the kinks," according to Jade Daniels, Macon-Bibb County Transit Authority operations manager."

"We strive to accommodate our passengers and provide them with dependable service," she said. "We appreciate them being patient."

And most are, said Lindsey, and they realize that the BiRD is a privilege.

"The new system just started, and with anything at first, you're going to find what works and what doesn't," he said. "No bus ride is going to be as fast as your car, but people should know that. If there have been any delays or anything, I believe they are going to fix those things."

Julius agreed, adding that because of the new routes, the distance between her office at Bldg. 660 and the nearest bus stop has been cut considerably.

"It's been really nice for those of us who were further away," she said. "And thanks to the new route, I've actually been getting up and getting to work earlier. I love it."

For more information on the BiRD, contact the MTA at 478-803-2500.
 
Motorists wishing to enroll in TIP visit: www.robins.af.mil/library/transportation/index.asp?



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