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Commuters give GRTA excellent grades

LAWRENCEVILLE - A survey shows the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority system is still a popular and useful tool for metro Atlanta residents.

An estimated 80 percent of commuters who participated in the June survey gave GRTA a grade of "very good" or "excellent," according to the survey.

The survey showed that customers in Atlanta and metro communities use GRTA and other bus systems to avoid braving the heavy traffic and until recently paying through the nose for a gallon of gas.

"Those are the two big things that keep coming up," said William Mecke, communications director for GRTA. "With gas prices going up to close to $3 a gallon at times, there's an

economic decision that people

make there.

"And instead of driving your car, you've got time to do whatever you want," he said. "You're not battling traffic - someone else is doing it for you. And up toward Gwinnett, you have the HOV lanes, so you're probably making a little bit better time."

Gwinnett County Transit operates its own local and express routes, as well as two GRTA Xpress routes.

"The express service continues to be very popular," said Tim Collins, director of the transit division of the Gwinnett County Department of Transportation.

In addition to local routes, Gwinnett runs three express routes to Atlanta: the 101, 102 and 103 routes, Mecke stated in a press release.

Gwinnett's two GRTA Xpress routes, the 410 from Discover Mills to the Lindbergh MARTA station; and the 412 from Discover Mills to midtown Atlanta, are operated on a contract basis.

Cobb Community Transit also operates three routes to Atlanta: the 100, 101, and the 102, routes.

It also operates the 470, Hiram and Powder Springs to downtown; the 480 Acworth to downtown; and the 481, from Busbee Parkway at Children's Healthcare to Midtown; all of which are also GRTA Xpress routes.

And while some may view the busses as a low-income means of travel, the survey indicates that passengers are most commonly females between 35 and 54 years of age whose households have an average of two vehicles and incomes ranging from $50,000 to $100,000.

Additionally, 8 percent of passengers continue on to MARTA once they've reached their GRTA destinations.