Lack of funding is the reason why Clayton County buses are bursting not only with people, but with the potential for a serious accident. According to MARTA, which operates 22 buses through C-TRAN, Clayton County’s public transport system, more buses are desperately needed to avoid the overcrowding problem on local buses. The problem is huge, and is getting to the point where a bus is forced to routinely take close to 20 more passengers than it can handle.
MARTA general manager Beverly Scott is concerned enough about the problem to ask for additional funding to address this concern. Apart from at least 6 new buses that will be needed to counter the overcrowding problem, new drivers to operate these as well as additional routes will have to be planned for. On February 17th at a hearing that included county residents, the Clayton County Commission received an earful of complaints about the dangers they faced traveling on County buses. Besides the road safety issues involved, residents complained that they were frequent fights breaking out on the buses as passengers jostled for space.
MARTA is expecting more than $60 million in federal stimulus money. However, those expecting the money to be used to expand essential bus services are likely to be disappointed. MARTA expects money to be used for current facilities, including repairs and other projects.
Overcrowding on buses is a bigger safety problem then we may think it is. For instance, fights and threats on a bus when passengers are fighting for even standing space could cause distractions to the driver. As Clayton County personal injury lawyers, we’re concernedthat an accident involving such a bus also increases the number of injuries on board simply because there were more numbers of people on the bus than should have been there.
It’s unfortunate that citizen safety is the first thing to fly out the window as soon as budgeting concerns show up. The overcrowding problem on Clayton County buses is severe enough to take seriously, and lawmakers must make efforts to demarcate funding that will alleviate the problem. It may be difficult, but it can be done if authorities have the stomach for it.