West Georgia Star partnering for free workforce shuttle pilot program

Published 9:00 am Friday, July 28, 2023

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The Development Authority of LaGrange is partnering with the LaGrange Housing Authority and West Georgia Star to create a workforce shuttle program as a low-cost transportation alternative for employees who work in the LaGrange Industrial Park and the WellStar West Georgia Medical Center.

A 90-day pilot for the program will start on Aug. 1 with free rides Monday through Friday.

Jocies Edmondson, transportation director for West Georgia Star, said the first meetings to create the program began back in March but they have been working to eliminate the transportation barrier for lower-income residents for quite some time.

Edmondson said they surveyed local employers to find out where their workers had transportation issues.

“We didn’t know where they were actually located. We only knew where they were working. So we put together a route that would be in walking distance to pretty much everyone’s residence,” Edmondson said.

Pick-up locations will be at East Side Park (Niles St.), William Griggs Center, the Dollar General at Hamilton and Colquitt Street, Cannon Street School, Antioch Baptist Church, Callaway Stadium Auditorium and Troup Corner Grocery (Troup St.). Pickups begin at 6 a.m. and run nonstop until 8 a.m.

The route includes stops at Advics, Mauser, Interface, Kleen-Tex, Jac Products, Sejong, Milliken and Milliken Live Oak, Freudenberg NOK, Duracell and WellStar.  Edmondson said the stops may be expanded or reduced in the future depending on need.

The after-work pickup routes begin at 3:15 p.m. and run to 7:15 p.m.

Registration is required to participate in the free pilot program. Registering for the program will allow organizers to know which stops are most needed.

The program will be free during the first 90 days. After that, the rides will have a discounted rate of $4 one-way, so $8 to and from work.

Edmondson said the initial money for the program was provided by the LaGrange Development Authority and came from a transportation grant.

Edmondson said the shuttles will be equipped with Wi-Fi so if workers need to do any type of work or check-in before they arrive, they have that capability. All drivers are certified in CPR first aid and the vehicles are equipped with cameras for safety, he said.

The pickup locations were also chosen to make sure they were well-lit, open areas with cameras and access to shelter in inclement weather, Edmondson noted.

To register for the pilot program, visit www.tinyurl.com/citypilot. Registration forms are also available in the front office of Phoenix Way or The Phoenix.