From Asheville Rapid Transit:
ASHEVILLE – Asheville Redefines Transit continues to employ strategies that improve the ridership experience, and that goes for the City of Asheville’s non-English speaking population as well.
In response to the growth of Spanish-speaking and Eastern European populations in Asheville, as indicated by census data, Ride the ART offers multi-lingual services at the downtown ART Station, 49 Coxe Ave. An over-the-phone translation service allows dispatchers to engage with riders in a conference-call style conversation so that non-English speakers can get the information they need to get the most out of the bus system.
Additionally, the city’s transit website www.ridetheart.com directs users in English, Spanish and Russian to online mapping that assists with planning routes and schedules. Posters in all three languages for the buses and ART Station are currently in the works.
These steps keep Asheville in compliance with federal Title VI Civil Rights Act requirements that city services accommodate the needs of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) groups that have crossed a specific population threshold.
“We are always looking at opportunities to provide better service to these populations,” said Transportation Services Manager Mariate Echeverry.
Although Spanish and Russian (used as a common language across Eastern European populations) are the two most-commonly spoken non-English languages in Asheville, the phone system has the added advantage of making almost any language available to help riders get where they need to go. The City of Asheville contracts with an outside company for the service and pays only on an as-used basis.
The City of Asheville is dedicated to supporting affordable multi-modal transportation and, since the launch of phase one of the Transit Master Plan in 2012, has expanded into more frequent service on high-traffic routes, added buses to the fleet and introduced partial holiday service. Find out more at ridetheart.com.