By Ed Brock
Regular C-Tran bus rider Jacobium Muhammad is happy to finally have a roof over his head.
While he waits at the bus stop, that is.
Waiting at one of the county's at least three new bus stop shelters in front of Arrowhead Shopping Center on Tara Boulevard last week, Muhammad said he especially liked the shelter's concrete base.
When it rained before, Muhammad said, passengers on Clayton County's bus system had to stand in the mud.
The shelters are appearing one year after the county signed a contract with American Transit Display Systems. Under that contract the company covers the cost of building and maintaining the shelters in exchange for the right to advertise on them.
Since the contract was signed, American Transit has been working with the Georgia Department of Transportation for the proper permits to build the shelters on state-owned right-of-ways, said Richard Bray, the public transit coordinator for Clayton County.
"We wanted to have these as soon as possible," Bray said.
Along with the shelter in front of Arrowhead Shopping Center another shelter stands on the nearby corner of Upper Riverdale Road and Tara Boulevard. Another one has already been built in front of the Publix grocery store near Tara Boulevard's intersection with Ga. Highway 138.
"They've got the concrete poured for the pad in front of Sports Caf? (also on Tara Boulevard a mile south of the previous shelter)," Bray said. "We're working on the first 25 and they've asked for permits for another 20."
More shelters should be up by today on Tara and still more are to be built on Mt. Zion Road and Forest Parkway, said Jon Campbell, American Transit executive vice-president.
They hope to have the first 25 shelters up by the first week of September, Campbell said.
"If the weather cooperates," Campbell said.
Each shelter takes about two days to build, one to pour the concrete pad and another to assemble the pre-fabricated structure. They are matte black with a two-person bench, a small built-in trash receptacle, a domed translucent roof and an illuminated, two-sided display box for advertising posters.
The first ads should be in place by next week and potential advertisers are encouraged to call the company at (770) 429-9222. Campbell said the price of the ads depends on the location and number of shelters on which the ad appears.
Campbell said there is no final number of how many shelters the company plans to build in the county.
"We're waiting to see how much the transit system grows," Campbell said.
There are now 220 C-Tran stops around the county.
Bray said he hopes the county will eventually put up its own shelters and benches at stops where American Transit does not.