Hop a bus to Black Mountain or Hendersonville

Thanks to two new bus routes, folks can use public transportation to get from Asheville to Black Mountain and Hendersonville.

Bus service between downtown Asheville and Black Mountain started May 17, says Bruce Black, director of the city of Asheville’s Transit Services Department, which runs Asheville Transit.

Buses leave the Asheville Transit station on Coxe Avenue for Black Mountain at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and return 40 minutes later from the old train station in Black Mountain. Stops include Mission St. Joseph’s Health System and the Asheville Mall.

The price isn’t bad either: only $1 each way. Riders starting in Black Mountain can transfer to an Asheville city bus route for only 10 cents. (If you start on an Asheville city bus, however, you still have to pay full fare.)

Grants will pay for the new route for at least a year, Black says. The service is funded by the following entities: the state ($92,000), the town of Black Mountain ($13,500) and Mountain Mobility ($7,000). After a year’s trial, the state will decide whether to continue funding.

As many as a half dozen people per trip are riding the bus, which isn’t bad for a new route, says Black.

“I just think we need to show that it’s a substantial ridership and that it’s filling a need in the community,” offers Black.

And last week, the family-owned Young Transportation and Tours began offering bus service between downtown Asheville and downtown Hendersonville. As of June 10, three buses a day depart from Asheville Transit, at 7:50 a.m., 11:50 a.m. and 3:50 p.m. Seventy minutes later, buses return from the Visitor’s Center on Main Street in Hendersonville. Along the way, the buses stop in Fletcher, Mountain Home and the Asheville Regional Airport. From Asheville, fare is $3 one way, $5 round trip; from Fletcher, it’s $2 one way and $4 round trip; from Mountain Home, it’s $1 one way and $2 round trip.

A one-year federal grant of $133,000 (minus the fare the company takes in) is making the regional route possible, said Young Transportation and Tours President Ralph Young. The buses would need a total of 160 passengers per day to make it financially worthwhile to continue without a grant, Young said.

Young Transportation and Tours (founded in 1939) once ran a route between Asheville and Hendersonville, but discontinued it in the mid-’80s because of falling ridership. The company also ran Hendersonville’s city buses in the 1940s and ’50s, but stopped in 1962 when the automobile’s popularity caused bus ridership to drop off, Young noted.

For more info about the Asheville-Black Mountain route, call Asheville Transit at 253-5691. For details on the Asheville-Hendersonville route, call Young Transportation and Tours at 258-0084.

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