By Justin Reedy
Clayton County signed a contract last August with a Marietta firm to build shelters along its bus routes, but nearly a year later none of those shelters have been built.
But a county official says they should be showing up along the routes of C-TRAN, the county transit system, in a matter of weeks.
The county signed an agreement with American Transit Display Systems last year that would require the firm to fund the construction of new bus shelters for C-TRAN in exchange for selling advertising space on the shelters. And though officials were hopeful at the time that some shelters could be in place before winter weather started affecting riders, none of the shelters have been built yet.
In many cases, progress on installing the shelters has been held up because of negotiations with the state, according to Richard Bray, the public transit coordinator for Clayton County.
Since much of the length of C-TRAN's three routes lies on state thoroughfares such as Ga. Highway 85 or Tara Boulevard, Bray said, the county has to get the Georgia Department of Transportation's permission to use the property. And that can be, and has been, a time consuming process, Bray said n one that has affected nearly all of the 26 proposed locations for shelters in the project's initial phase.
"The shelters are stored and ready to be put up," Bray said. "It's just a matter of getting the I's dotted and the T's crossed."
Some C-TRAN riders say they think getting the shelters would be a welcome addition to an already good bus system.
"That would be great to get shelters," said Riverdale resident Deborah Norsen as she sat on a sidewalk in Jonesboro waiting for a C-TRAN bus. "It's really helpful if they have them. With people having to walk so far in the heat to get to the bus stops, it would be nice to have a bench to sit on."
Clayton County resident Deborah Myers has been riding on C-TRAN for several months, and on more than one occasion has had to seek shelter from the sun or the rain under a tree or a building's roof overhang while waiting for a bus.
"They need to put up some shelters," Myers said. "We wouldn't have to hide under trees from the rain or the sun. We still need a roof."
Those roofs could start going up in soon, Bray said, with most of the issues with the state on the verge of being resolved.
"I hope we can have some shelters up in the coming weeks," he said.