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Robins BiRD program to end in July

  • Published
  • By Jenny Gordon
  • Robins Public Affairs
The Robins BiRD program, or Buses into Robins Daily, will offer its last ride July 19.

"We'd like to thank everyone for their support and participation of the program," said John Pugh, 78th Mission Support Group deputy director. "For the riders who enjoyed BiRD, we hope they were able to see the benefits, such as no wear and tear on their vehicles as well as reimbursements through the Department of Transportation."

Due to a decline in ridership and the loss of government funding to support the development of new transportation services, the Macon-Bibb County Transit Authority won't be able to continue maintaining and supporting the route from Macon to Warner Robins.

According to Jade Daniels, MTA operations manager, the reduction in funding resulted in a move to reduce services and routes. That included a reduction in support for riders commuting to Geico in Macon as well as services to Mercer University.

The mass transit initiative first became operational here in 2010. In December of that year, ridership was at 214 people. It gradually increased as word began to spread of its benefits, which included a significant savings on gas money, insurance and personal vehicle maintenance, while also reducing parking congestion on base, traffic reduction and delays getting to work.

Dennis Julius, with the 429th Supply Chain Management Squadron, and his wife, Julie, who works with the Support Equipment and Vehicles Division in Bldg. 300, have been riding BiRD almost daily since 2010.

"It didn't come as a surprise to Julie or me," Dennis Julius said. "We knew the day was coming for quite a while, we just didn't know when. Although we're disappointed, we understand and accept the decision."

"Overall, riding the BiRD has been a very positive experience for us," he added.

Julius said some of the advantages were kind and conscientious drivers, along with a flexible schedule that allowed the couple to work early or leave late. He estimated the BiRD eliminated 60,000 to 65,000 miles of driving in their personal vehicles. Although the ride to and from Macon took longer, parking was a non-issue , stops were almost at the office door and fellowship with others made the trips worthwhile.

"We've made friends with base personnel we wouldn't have met in our normal work environment," he said.

During the BiRD's first year there were 12 on-base stops. That equated to 16 bus runs on base in the mornings and afternoons, with off-base stops at various locations in Macon, and routes along Ga. Highway 247.

Those interested in other transit options to and from work can look into community vanpool services.

Editor's note: A public hearing is scheduled at 5:30 p.m. July 5 at the MTA Terminal Station, 4th Floor conference room.