The bus now runs on New Year’s

For the first time, Asheville’s transit system is helping residents get home from the aftermath of their New Year’s celebrations, or wherever else they might need to go today. The bus system will now offer limited service during holidays throughout the year, part of an effort to expand its availability.

Service on holidays and Sundays has long been a goal of transit advocates. Last year, it was presented as part of a “menu” of budget options for Asheville City Council to choose from. This year’s budget devoted $113,000 more to transit. Some of that went to offset a reduction in state subsidies, but $30,000 went to offering holiday service on major routes, starting today.

Bus service on Sunday would cost a good deal more — about $190,000 annually — but not a huge amount in terms of the whole city budget. But while there are a number of transit advocates on Council, the city also has tough budget circumstances to deal with, especially if the state transfers its water system to the Metropolitan Sewerage District. How transit will be affected by those struggles in 2013 remains to be seen.

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