Temporary bus service to and from Fayettevile may be available

Friday, September 21, 2007

Regular bus service between Lewisburg and Fayetteville could be available for a few days next week as a potential byproduct of the court system's need to shuttle jurors to a trial.

Arrangements could be made for someone who wants to go from here to Fayetteville and back on vans that would otherwise be empty, according to Sanford Potts, transportation director for the south central Tennessee Development District in Columbia.

He and others have made arrangements for two vans to make the trips. The vans are normally available at the senior citizens centers in Lewisburg and Fayetteville. The Lincoln County vans will carry jurors from the Lincoln County Courthouse in Fayetteville in the morning and could carry people to Fayetteville as they return shortly after 9 a.m.

Jurors will be taken back to Fayetteville in the evening by vans from the Marshall County senior citizens center that is the base for the public transportation service here.

The vans are federally funded through the South Central Tennessee Development District office in Columbia where Potts' office is located. Tuesday, he was asked about the "dead heading" or empty vans' return trip to their base counties.

"It's possible," Potts said of others' potential use of the vans as they leave the Marshall County Courthouse to go to Fayetteville in the morning and the other vans that would be going back to Lewisburg from the Lincoln County Courthouse in the evening.

The shuttle of jurors developed after Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler ruled on an attorney's motion to have the trial moved from Lewisburg, where residents have become aware of the case against two men charged in the death of a restaurant developer.

Instead of moving the trial, the jurors will be bussed in from Lincoln County.

The exact travel times of he vans will depend on the court's schedule, although because jurors are being brought here from Lincoln County, a court officer has indicated that some attempt will be made to recess the trial at about the same time each evening.

The court system is to pay the standard $1.55 per mile charge for a charter van, plus $10 per hour waiting time, according to Circuit Court Clerk Eleanor Brandon. The trip is 26 miles one way.

The cost of a trip for others could prove to be expensive, depending on a rider's view of the fees. If the trip was to a doctor's office, it could cost $20, according to one official who said it might be $65.52 otherwise. That's at $1.26 per mile.

Potts indicated something might be arranged, although early this week that seemed somewhat speculative. His number in Columbia is (931) 490-5892 ext 101.