JTA’s new Magenta Line connects Keystone Heights, Gainesville

By Nick Blank Staff Writer
Posted 8/21/19

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – Public transportation returned to Southern Clay County recently with the Magenta Line, which connects Keystone Heights to Gainesville.

Jacksonville Transportation Authority …

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JTA’s new Magenta Line connects Keystone Heights, Gainesville

Posted

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – Public transportation returned to Southern Clay County recently with the Magenta Line, which connects Keystone Heights to Gainesville.

Jacksonville Transportation Authority spokesman David Cawton said the Magenta Line was created to fill gaps after Clay Transit ceased services. The demand in South Clay warranted an expansion of services.

“We felt there would be a demand for this service. We know Gainesville is the closest big city to Keystone and it just made sense,” Cawton said. “The Red and Blue lines are in very populated areas. (The Magenta Line) is a good test for us in a rural community that doesn’t really have any transportation.”

The new service is JTA’s third flex route in the county.

JTA took over the county's transportation Jan. 1. While transportation for disadvantaged residents didn’t suffer a lapse in service, two flex routes were established in March.

Trips begin from the Keystone Heights Senior Center, 125 Commercial Circle, to Gainesville’s Rosa Parks RTS Downtown Transit Station.

The Magenta Line departs Keystone Heights at 8 a.m. and returns two hours later. JTA’s afternoon service leaves Keystone Heights at 3 p.m. and comes back at 5 p.m.

Calvin Childers, 71, attends the Keystone Heights Senior Center. Childers, a former Marine, said he used the old Magenta Line about 20 times a month. Since the line was phased out of Clay Transit, he’s been relying on friends for transportation.

“It was convenient to get from one place to another,” Childers said.

Childers said he was disappointed the stop at Putnam Hall was no longer featured, but he said he would use the new service to visit Gainesville’s VA hospital.

Lisa Darnall, JTA’s vice president of operations, addressed county commissioners Aug. 13. She said JTA’s Transportation Disadvantaged Services received 115 trips a day. The Red Line had a ridership of 60 a day and the Blue Line averaged 25 riders. She said the Red and Blue lines had 9,000 total riders since March.

“We’re very pleased to be a partner in Clay County and hopefully we continue working with the county and the commission,” Darnall said. “There’s some unique opportunities for the rural areas in Clay County that will get us get additional grant funding.”

JTA’s standard fare is $1. Call 904-284-5977 to schedule a pickup time.

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