By John Schaffner

editor@reporternewspapers.net

“The buc” will be expanding its free transportation service for Buckhead for the holidays.

Those who work and shop in the community from Nov. 30 to Dec. 23 will find two new lunchtime and early afternoon routes, including service connecting Buckhead Village to the malls.

The enhanced holiday shuttle service includes extended hours and shorter frequencies of service for the Piedmont corridor routes during lunchtime. That line will run every 15 minutes between 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on weekdays.

The new service connecting Buckhead Village to Lenox Square will also operate every 15 minutes during the same weekday time period during December.

The objective is to encourage the Piedmont corridor and Buckhead Village workforce to do some holiday shopping while in Buckhead by taking a longer lunch hour and riding “the buc” to and from shopping destinations.

It is also hoped it will reduce vehicle trips within Buckhead and make it easier for shoppers from outside the area to get to the malls.

The shuttle to Buckhead Village will run down Peachtree Road to West Paces Ferry where it will turn and go to the Whole Foods market and St. Regis hotel and condominiums. It will return to Peachtree Road south and turn east on Pharr Road to Grandview, where it will turn north and connect to East Paces Ferry. From there it will go east to Piedmont Road for the reconnection to Peachtree Road. After returning to Peachtree, the shuttle will continue to Lenox Square.

“It opens ‘the buc’ to a different market,” Buckhead Area Transportation Management Authority Executive Director Denise Starling told the board of the Buckhead Community Improvement District, which underwrites the cost of the shuttle.

The holiday shuttle schedule to Buckhead Village is also a trial to see if there would be enough use to warrant continuing the service on a regular basis. Starling thinks most of the riders will come from areas around Buckhead Plaza at Peachtree and Paces Ferry roads.

The CID board approved the $18,192 budget for the expanded holiday period at its Oct. 27 board meeting. Extending “the buc” service to points around Buckhead Village has been one of the requests from commercial property owners in the area who have been paying an additional 3 mil of property tax to the CID for community improvements since 2005, when the CID expanded to include the Village area.

The service may be tweaked a little before it starts Nov. 30. For additional information go to www.bucride.com.