Changes to Asheville’s transit system launch today; bus fare is free through June 8

For more in-depth coverage of the issues surrounding the changes to the transit system, check out Xpress’ previous cover story here.

Xpress also has more on Strive Not to Drive Week here.

Here’s the press release from the city of Asheville:

Asheville Redefines Transit launch Monday, May 21
Ride fare free for the first three weeks

ASHEVILLE – Monday, May 21 marks the opening of a new chapter for Asheville’s public transportation: Asheville Redefines Transit (ART) is the implementation of the first phase of the city’s Transit Master Plan. The reconfiguring of the City of Asheville transit system into 16 new routes provides increased service along major corridors, consolidated day and evening schedules and streamlined routes that improve on-time performance. To help kick off the new system, fares are free for all riders for the first three weeks.

“A lot of work and public interaction went into making this a reality,” said Mariate Echeverry, the City’s transportation planning manager. “Now that we are here, we are making sure that customers have the information they need to get the best results from this transition.”

The City of Asheville has provided several ways to access information about the ART system. Maps, timetables and an FAQ page are available online at www.ridetheart.com, including a Google Maps trip planner that will chart your route. Physical maps are available at the ART Station (formerly the Transit Center) at 49 Coxe Avenue. Volunteers will be on hand throughout the week to assist riders in becoming familiar with the new routes and bus drivers are equipped with handouts that explain how to get information about the changes.

Monday’s ART roll out coincides with Strive Not to Drive week, and Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy will preside over a 5:15 p.m. ribbon cutting in Pack Square Park to celebrate the launch.

Free fares on the ART are effective until June 8, 2012.

For more information about Asheville Transit, contact 253-5691, e-mail iride@ashevillenc.gov or visit www.ridetheart.com.

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