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Public bus system reduces daily hours
Federal budget cuts are forcing the Coastal Regional Commission to shave two hours daily off the schedules of its public transportation coaches.

The Darien-based commission, which serves a 10-county region from Camden County on the south to Wayne County on the north, is now operating its rural transportation program from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., instead of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Few riders used the coaches at the deleted hours, and the change is expected to save the program nearly $400,000 and help reduce debt, said Don Masisak, commission transportation director.

The agency spent months trying to figure out the best approach to conserve funds without reducing staff or the number of coaches operating in its 80-coach fleet.

"(Those hours) would have the least amount of impact on the (riders of the) program," Masisak said. "It's the one item we could highlight that could get us back in the black."

A $435,000 federal budget cut and rising cost of fuel and insurance, as well as employee salaries, left the commission with no choice but to trim the schedule.

"We had to take some action to maintain a service," said Masisak. "It's better to (shorten the hours) than to have no service at all."

More than 6,000 riders monthly pay $3, by reservation, for a one-way ride to destinations they specify within counties in which they live. They pay an additional $3 for each county line a trip crosses.

* Reporter Martin Rand III covers local news. Contact him at, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 324.

Where to ride

Coastal Regional Commission coaches operate in Bryan, Bulloch, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh and Wayne counties. Call 866-543-6744 for reservations.

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