Rome Transit Department

RTD Route 1A bus pulls out from the downtown transit station in February 2020 as smaller buses wait for the next loads of passengers.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is seeking public input through Thursday on the results and recommendations of the draft Statewide Transit Plan.

The SWTRP -- which includes bus service available in the cities of Rome and Cedartown -- is a result of a comprehensive review of Georgia's public transit needs. It charts the future direction of transit programs, to include funding.

Transit providers, local governments, regional commissions and other stakeholders provided input for the plan over the past two years. The result hones in on near-term and long-range recommendations.

“Public transit is an important part of GDOT’s multimodal planning efforts,” said project manager Kaycee Mertz. "This plan helps us to identify needs and recommend strategies to improve access to transit, with a focus on rural transit, regional collaboration, and innovation."

The most fiscally efficient systems tend to be those that serve the largest populations, but that's not always the case.

The report states that Rome, at $2.96, is one of the four systems with the lowest cost per trip -- although calculations were done before the system stopped serving Rome City Schools. It also includes Rome with Columbus, Athens and MARTA as the four systems with the greatest number of trips per capita based on the population of their service area area.

The systems with the highest cost per trip tend to be ones that rely on demand-response, the report notes. That's how Cedartown's public transit is set up.

Profiles of the systems, along with a virtual open house presentation and opportunity to comment, are posted at the website

Highlights of the state plan include:

* Expanding public transit to Georgia's 37 counties without service, with an emphasis on regional coordination and cross-jurisdictional service.

* Expanding the capacity of existing rural systems to ensure all needs are met.

* Meeting workforce needs through extended service hours and more commuter routes.

* Improving safety, system reliability and performance by leveraging technology.

* Enhancing coordination among transit providers, employers, healthcare and education providers.

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