JTA’s new Green Line connects Green Cove Springs, Keystone Heights, Middleburg VA and Penney Farms

By Wesley LeBlanc
Posted 4/7/21

PENNEY FARMS – A Green Line bus from the Jacksonville Transportation Authority has joined the fleet that already includes a Red, Blue and Magenta lines.

The Green Line bus route was officially …

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JTA’s new Green Line connects Green Cove Springs, Keystone Heights, Middleburg VA and Penney Farms

Posted

PENNEY FARMS – A Green Line bus from the Jacksonville Transportation Authority has joined the fleet that already includes a Red, Blue and Magenta lines.

The Green Line bus route was officially launched on April 1 before a crowd of more than 50 citizens made up of veterans, commissioners, JTA officials and more. This new JTA bus route will travel between the Clayton and Mildred Revels Senior Center in Green Cove Springs, Keystone Heights, the Middleburg VA clinic and Penney Farms. It’s the latest line in Clay County, which already features three other lines.

“These individuals [veterans] served our nation with bravery and honor, and they deserve to be taken care of,” JTA CEO Nathaniel Ford said during the April 1 ceremony. “Sincerely, we believe that the Green Line will make the travel needs for them much easier and we have a lot more work to do in that regard. As this partnership grows and we continue to identify needs here in Clay County, I’m confident that we will be here for another ribbon cutting in the near future and continue to announce new routes and new opportunities for better connections to these residents and the services they need.”

The JTA took over transportation – veteran transportation in particular – on Jan. 1, 2019. It opened the Red and Blue lines in March of 2019 and those lines take riders to places like the Orange Park Medical Center, the Orange Park Kennel Club and elsewhere. The Magenta line opened in August of 2019 and it takes people from Keystone Heights to Gainesville, which was the home of one of the nearest VA clinics before the one in Middleburg opened up last year.

The new Green Line will not only take people to the Middleburg VA, but it will also connect directly to the Magenta Line. The new bus route, which is now in operation for a $1 fare for most or a 50 cents fare for seniors, is something that has veterans excited. It’s also something they’ve needed for a while now.

“We are thrilled about this, just absolutely excited,” veteran CJ Gauthier said. “It’s something a lot of people in this area need. You know, a lot of veterans don’t have transportation so they don’t have ways to get to vital services like the VA. This changes that.”

Guathier is a veteran, and he’s part of Duval’s Chapter 1046 Vietnam Veterans of America post. He specifically works with veterans who have been incarcerated, focusing on helping them get back on their feet when they get out of jail or prison. He said one of the biggest struggles veterans face, especially post-incarcerated veterans, is transportation.

“There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done in Clay County,” Gauthier said. “It’s a small place relative to somewhere like Jacksonville, though, and this is a step in the right direction. This is a win for veterans and for anyone else that needs this route.”

Friday’s grand opening wasn’t just a win for Clay County, but another push for JTA as their Jacksonville-based functions continue to move outward into places like Clay and St. Johns. Ford said he sees a future where the authority is the Northeast Florida Transportation Authority, rather than the Jacksonville Transportation Authority.

Ford and his company’s talents were actually recognized by the Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, according to JTA chair Ari Jolly. She said during a meeting held yesterday, JTA was recognized for first-in-class transportation operations such as taking surplus vehicles and turning them into mobile clinics so that COVID-19 vaccines could be taken to those that couldn’t go out and get one themselves.

She also said the Green Line grand opening on April 1 was another step in JTA’s commitment to providing safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable transportation to veterans, seniors and anyone else in need of a ride.

“I know how important VAs are to veterans,” Jolly said on the topic of veterans and public transportation. “All [veterans] gave some and some gave all...and this is us doing our part for them.”

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