FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Forsyth County seniors and those with disabilities will continue receiving expanded transportation options initiated two years ago under a pilot program.

County commissioners extended a contract through October 2025 with Common Courtesy to provide supplementary transport services to the area’s disabled and elderly.

Common Courtesy is an Uber-like transportation service that offers low-fee transportation to qualified residents.

Forsyth County’s Dial-a-Ride program, administered through Fleet Management, offers $2 trips to seniors and the disabled, but officials with the department say they can’t keep up with demand. The county brought on Common Courtesy to supplement the operation in October 2019.

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All trips must be for travel within Forsyth County and the program is open to eligible residents so long as they do not require any special accommodation. If needed, an attendant may accompany a passenger at no charge.

In 2020, Common Courtesy provided more than 3,700 trips to residents, according to figures from the Forsyth County Department of Procurement. Dial-a-Ride provided more than 14,000.

Before the supplementary service was introduced two years ago, the Department of Fleet Management reported that in 2018, the county’s Dial-a-Ride provided 14,678 trips. Still, the department recorded more than 150 cases where it was unable to transport a client due to lack of resources.

Under terms of the contract extension, the county has increased its allocation from $100,000 to $140,000 annually.

Common Courtesy was founded in 2006 by Bob and Anne Carr after they witnessed an incident involving a senior who was backing out of a space and nearly struck about a half dozen other seniors walking past.

Anne said the couple initially launched the service within their neighborhood as a volunteer endeavor, but the enterprise failed. They revived the idea again when the Carrs learned about Uber’s business model and decided to give it another shot.

County Commission Chairwoman Cindy Jones Mills said the supplemental service is necessary.

“It’s really being used by everybody,” she said.

In other matters covered at the work session, commissioners discussed recent legislation relating to sale of alcohol and cereal malt beverages.

One item under consideration gives local governments the ability to allow restaurants to sell mixed drinks to-go along with a food entré. Senate Bill 236 allows food service establishments that are licensed to sell distilled spirits for consumption on the premises to sell mixed drinks to-go in approved containers. Mixed drinks sold for off-premises consumption must be accompanied with the purchase of a food entré and in conformance with state and local open container laws.

Currently, Forsyth County does not allow the practice, and officials would have to remove the local restriction to allow restaurants to opt-in.

Under the legislation, mixed drinks may not be part of a restaurant’s delivery service.

Customers must place the unopened mixed drink either in the glove compartment, trunk or other area of the vehicle not directly accessible.

Commissioners expressed no eagerness to enact a law providing for mixed drinks to-go.

County Commissioner Todd Levent said he thinks mixed drinks to-go sound a little “iffy.” He said if the state allowed for delivery, it would be less likely patrons would get on the road drinking and driving.

Commissioners agreed to hold public hearings on all new alcohol legislation to give residents a chance to speak on whether they want local laws changed to more liberalized practices.

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