Greater mobility for all

In response to the last week’s letter, “Mountain Mobility Can Do More” [Jan. 22 Xpress]: There is a lack of connectability for people who do not have access to automobiles or other options in small cities and rural areas of America. There are ways to solve the local problem, in addition to expansion of the bus system in the Asheville-Buncombe area, which is limited to many Buncombe County residents.

The answer, I believe, was in past Bush administration transportation legislation to include a ground transportation call-in center, which was mandated for light rail systems. This fix would use current technologies — including computers, tablets and cell phones — to allow citizens greater mobility. Using this system, individuals call a 511 number and tell the operator where they are located and where they want to go. The operator would then provide the rider with all the available options in terms of time, cost and in mode of transport.

Using existing ground transportation information from both public and private sources would enable a rider to connect with existing lines of public transportation and potentially create a new system of car sharing. This proposal is in the Land of Sky transportation options to be pursued. This could include van sharing, car sharing, and more park and ride opportunities.

The question is: Are the existing public systems willing to coordinate with semipublic or private entities?

The current costs of each system, like Mountain Mobility, dispatching solely for their own clients is a limitation on the potentials of future transportation systems using the most up-to-date and available forms of technology.

If we add up all of the public and private costs of dispatching and coordinate them into one call-in center, the potential benefit for Buncombe County residents would be greater mobility for all.

— Robert Eidus
Asheville

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