By Carole Robinson, Staff Writer
After years of planning, Franklin Transit expanded its fixed route service to include a South Bound route completing the public transportation circle in the geographic area of Franklin.
The last piece of the original plan is complete, said TMA director, Debbie Henry, regarding the new bus route that began serving areas south of the city in late November. Under contract with the Franklin Transit Authority, Transportation Management Association operates and manages the Franklin Transit system.
“We waited a long time to do this route,” Henry said. “It started on Nov. 21 after several years of research and the completion of Streetscape.”
Six days a week, service now goes to Franklin’s antique district, the Historic Carter House, Lotz House and Carnton Plantation, Pinkerton Park, the Williamson County Public Library, the Department of Human Services, Graceworks, Parkway Commons, the Franklin Family YMCA, Watson Glen Shopping Center with other stops along the route.
“We’ve never been able to have service to those locations,” Henry said. “In time we knew we would include the historic component – we had it somewhat with the downtown route, now we are able to expand the service.”
The addition of the historic sites along the route enhances the transportation service, which not only provides transportation for residents and employees at local businesses and retail outlets, but tourists and visitors to the city.
The South Bound Route and destinations all over Franklin can easily be reached. All services – north, south, east and west – hub at The Factory at the top of the hour allowing riders from points around the city to transfer from one route to another, Henry explained.
“The fixed routes are hitting places people go,” Henry said. “Fifty percent of the trips are taking people back and forth to work.”
Others trips are for medical needs like doctors’ appointments and dialysis. A smaller number of riders are shopping or touring.
The City of Franklin established the Franklin Authority to run the Franklin Transit System about 10 years ago when it decided to purchase a trolley for the downtown area and special events. When the service began to grow, the TMA Group was contracted to operate, manage and continue the growth for the Franklin Authority.
Rates are affordable and fixed at $1 for adults; 50 cents for senior citizens 65 and older, the disabled with identification and children age five and younger. Infants and toddlers who will sit on a lap may ride free.
With gas prices soaring and conflicting work schedules within a family, more and more teens are taking advantage of the bus service to get to work, activities and to meet up with friends.
To help out, when school is not in session, TMA offers special half price tickets for teens between the ages of 12 and 18.
“A large number of young teens use the service to get to work,” Henry said. “It’s affordable, safe, parents trust [the service] and it provides a certain amount of independence.”
In addition to the fixed route transportation service, the Authority offers Transportation on DemanD – TODD, a curb-to-curb, reservation only transportation service.
For the second year, Franklin Transit provided the Safe Ride Home for New Year’s Eve. Safe Ride Home has also been provided during spirited events like Wine Down Main Street and Brewfest.
“Safe Rides Home have a niche that enables people to participate in spirited events and get them home safely,” Henry said.
For more information about the fixed routes Franklin Transit now provides, TODD or other services, call 790-4005. Bus schedule are available on buses or at the Franklin Transit headquarters 708 Columbia Ave. in Franklin.
Posted on: 1/18/2012