There were no crowds at the West Asheville public meeting about major changes to Asheville’s transit system, about 25 residents stopped by to see what transit is going to be redefined to. Still, city workers were not disillusioned or dismayed at the turnout. City of Asheville’s energy consultant, Maggie Ullman said, “This is a process. We had over 150 last night at the Civic Center. Many people will not notice until the changes come, that’s just how it is.”
So how is Asheville Redifining Transit? Well, first off, understand these changes have been done with no increase of budget. No fare increase. They will take effect on May 21, 2012 and the highlights are:
- Main corridors will have every 30 minute service
- Routes adjusted to improve on-time performance
- The city has partnered with Google to help map your trip
- Day and evening routes have been consolidated
- New areas of service
What is a “main corridor,” you ask? Patton Avenue to New Leicester Highway, Haywood Road to Brevard Road, Merrimon Avenue to Beaverdam Road, Tunnel Road to South Tunnel Road, and direct service to Hillcrest.
What other changes will we see on May 21st? New route numbers. The nonsensical numbers will be replaced with N, S, W and E and a number for the majority of routes. Odd numbers leave on the hour and have the longest hours. Even numbers leave on the half-hour. Most routes still go through the transit center, with a couple of exceptions. A bus designated C (for crosstown) runs from West Asheville, along State Street, Amboy Road, Meadow Road, through Biltmore Village and Fairview Road to the WalMart area. This bus has a number of transfer points to other routes which should save riders time. Another bus, designated N (with no number) runs from Montford, to the Stadium and then up to the Grove Park Inn. This bus too has a number of interconnections which will save time.
Sure to be a collector’s item, and the hottest tourist wear of 2012, the system map on a T-Shirt on the best model available with no notice or budget.
Still, not everyone is head-over-heels in love with the changes. Philippes Dargan, a self-described long-time bus rider, has concerns. “Seems to me overly complicated,” he said. “I mean, it would be a fine system if they could run the buses on Sunday and get the bums out of the transit center. I just want to get off a bus and not be hit up for change and cigarettes.” Dargan further observes, “They ran the bums out from the tourist areas. I don’t see to many tourists on the bus, maybe that’s what we need.”
As for Sunday service, these changes have been done with no budget or fare increases. Without the addition of some kind of funding, Sunday service is not an option. It is, however, in the Transit Master Plan. More meetings are scheduled for the rest of this month.
For more information, attend one of the meetings, or call transit customer service at (828) 253-5691 or email firstname.lastname@example.org