Live music blared and the aroma of hot dogs filled the air Thursday as Metra Transit System showed appreciation to Columbus bus riders.
Earl Robinson, 58, rides the bus daily to his job at The Medical Center but happened upon the celebration at the Metra Transfer Center on Ninth Avenue and 15th Street. “I love it,” Robinson said. “God is awesome.”
Saundra Hunter, director of Metra Transit, said the appreciation from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. would attract more than 1,000 people. More than 2,500 to 3,000 riders travel through the center daily.
In addition to free food and music, drawings were held to give away free bus passes. Local business and community groups set up booths to hand out information. They included the Muscogee County Autism Support Group, House of Restoration, New Horizons, Easter Seals, Clean Air Campaign, University of Phoenix, Goodwill Industries and others.
Tanya Toombs, 26, took time to fill out a survey while she was at the celebration. She uses Metra daily to attend classes at Columbus Technical College. She wants to someday own a business.
The appreciation came a week after a 5-cent fare increase went into effect on Oct. 1, raising the base fare from $1.25 to $1.30 but keeping other fares the same. Toombs said she didn’t mind the increase.
The event was a welcome home for Eddie Thomas who just returned to Columbus Tuesday from Denver. He uses the bus to find work. “I’m coming back to stay,” he said.