“It's a good service but it's for anyone not just the elderly,” Pat Eubanks said. Eubanks started out as a driver, but now is the dispatcher and coordinator for the buses.
According to Eubanks, many county buses run between bus stops, but Gordon County's bus service runs curb to curb, which means it will pick you up at the location you are at, albeit a house, hospital, school or grocery store.
The price of the trip is determined on how far you ride. For anything under 10 miles one-way costs $2, but anything over 10 miles one-way costs $3.
“At $2 a trip it's hard to beat, especially with gas as high as it is right now,” Eubanks said.
The system requests a 24-hour notice if someone plans on riding the bus, but if any buses available right away, they will try to pick the person up.
“We don’t like to leave anyone out if we can help it,” Eubanks said.
Eubanks added that most people call for a ride when their car breaks down or when a source of transportation is unavailable, but there are regulars that ride on a consistent basis.
The buses are managed by Mountain Area Transportation Services (MATS), according to Eubanks, which is a non-profit organization out of Jasper, Ga.
Right now there are three buses giving rides to people in Gordon County, two of which are wheelchair accessible. Seniors who are interested in the service have their fees paid through Social Security, according to Eubanks.
Each bus can hold 14 passengers and the driver, who Eubanks says are prepared for anything.
Along with the driver’s motor vehicle records being checked once a year, all drivers are CPR and First Aid certified, and have their certificates renewed each year.
Each driver does a routine maintenance check before departing for the day to ensure operation of the bus is safe. Once a year Georgia Department of Transportation does an inspection of the buses, and if any problems do occur the county is responsible for any of the maintenance work that needs to be done.
On top of maintaining the buses, Eubanks says she likes to keep them clean, adding she doesn’t "want her buses to look dirty like a lot of public transportation." Eubanks takes pride in her fleet and wants it to show.
“The buses are for the general public, and we are there for anybody at any age. We take you anywhere in Gordon County,” Eubanks said.
To request transportation or more information, contact 706-602-0852.