Reducing the hours at the South Lumpkin Road access control point at Fort Benning is costing a mother of two money she doesn’t have.
Since Monday, new hours went into effect from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. for incoming and outgoing traffic at the gate known as ACP 1. The schedule has forced Metra Transit System to cut service more than half from 19 trips to nine.
Claudette McKenzie catches three Metra buses in the morning to get her two sons Jayden, 2, and Tafari, 7, to separate daycare centers on Torch Hill and South Lumpkin roads. With the access point closed in the afternoon, McKenzie has used a taxi everyday this week to pick up her sons and return home on post.
“I saw people walking down Torch Hill Road yesterday, “ McKenzie said Wednesday. “We all take the bus.’’A taxi has cost McKenzie $15 each day, a fee that will force her to make other decisions about housing rent and other bills at the end of the month. When the gate was open, she only needed a bus pass.
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Deputy Garrison Commander Chuck Walls said he’s optimistic something can be worked out. “I’m very concerned about the bus situation,” Walls said.
Walls said he contacted Columbus officials about getting more routes in the area. “I want to see if we can get something going,” Walls said.
Adding trips to the remaining nine on post would be difficult. Metra Transit Manager Rosa Cooper said. All the buses are on a timed schedule and rerouting the bus would add time to the trip. "By adding time, the bus would not be able to connect and get people to other buses at the Metra Transfer Center," she said. "It would have an adverse impact on a greater number."