A Saturday-night shuttle, anyone?

For all the high-energy, well-attended shows at the recent POPAsheville festival, it’s fair to say that half the fun was getting to the music venues—or, rather, commuting between them. That’s because the festival enlisted the LaZoom bus-tour crew to provide transit: Attendees got a free ride (and in many cases, free rides) on the purple bus that tours Asheville from May to October, offering raucous theatre and live music along the way.

Are you on the bus?: The LaZoom tour bus operators want to run a shuttle service between Asheville and West Asheville on Saturday nights.

It’s the off season for the tour company, so the bus was free for the weekend’s festivities and spent the evenings ferrying festival-goers from the Rocket Club to the Grey Eagle to Stella Blue, and so on. Along the way, local-music acts, including Kon Tiki, Snake Oil Medicine Show and Hellblinki Sextet, among others, performed in the front of the bus.

The shuttle service was such a hit that LaZoom’s owners, husband-and-wife team Jim and Jennifer Lauzon, want to keep the wheels turning on Saturday nights. Here’s what they propose: If enough support can be garnered from community members and local businesses, they’ll run the bus every Saturday night in their off season, providing transit between West Asheville and downtown Asheville, with a stop in the River Arts District along the way. As during the POPAsheville experiment, they’ll bring live local acts along for the fun.

“Right now, we want to test market the idea,” Jim Lauzon explains. He’s putting out a call for feedback on the idea, and if enough folks indicate they’ll back the shuttle project, it may be a go. “We don’t want to be a novelty with this,” he adds. “We want to be a wonderful service.” Just think about it, he says: No more having to cab to the other side of town, or bum a ride, on nights when you’re better off not getting behind the wheel.

Interested? Have a better idea? Let LaZoom know what you think via e-mail at jim@lazoomtours.com.

About Jon Elliston
An Asheville-based mountain journalist: Former Mountain Xpress managing editor. Investigations and open government editor at Carolina Public Press. Senior contributing editor at WNC magazine.

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