The bus doesn’t run on Monday

The Asheville Transit System won’t run this coming Monday, April 5, as Easter Monday is “one of 8 days throughout the calendar year that Asheville Transit does not operate,” according to an announcement from the city.

The other seven holidays the bus system doesn’t run on are New Year’s Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Labor Day, July 4, Memorial Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Of course, the bus system doesn’t run on any Sunday either.

If comments on the city’s Facebook post announcing the closure are any indication, the holiday break hasn’t been well-received.

“We all know no one needs to get anywhere on the holidays,” Jill Boniske writes.

“It’s things like this that impair our ability to position Asheville as a modern city of choice that can attract businesses and jobs,” Jake Quinn comments. “The next time the contract is up for negotiation, the ‘eight days provision’ must be changed.”

Transit systems throughout the state vary widely in the number of holidays they take off. Greenville, for example, doesn’t run the buses on five holidays, while Greensboro only takes Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s off (running reduced hours on some other holidays). However, Jacksonville’s transit system has more holidays off than Asheville’s, and Wilmington’s takes the same eight days.

— David Forbes, staff writer

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34 thoughts on “The bus doesn’t run on Monday

  1. bthecat

    Asheville transit is pitiful compared to any metro area. AVL seems to think that nobody works nights or weekends, so why have transportation available.
    City workers might not work Sunday, but guess what… I do! If AVL wants t claim green city, it needs to get its public transport into a viable alternative to cars.

    Joe

  2. Baloney

    Asheville Transit also seems to think that people don’t need to get to the airport in the early morning.

  3. Emmisions King

    I’m really glad I filled out that survey they posted a while back…I definitely checked the boxes that said “No Sunday service, just new artwork please” and “Easter Monday is recognized by my boss so no need to run buses that day”.

    Bravo transit service…Bravo!

  4. The city’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department recently announced that three local artists have been chosen to have their artwork appear on buses as part of the city’s first-ever “Art on Transit” bus art competition. Each artist will be awarded a $750 honorarium and their designs will grace the sides of a big bus.

    The winners were Ray Noland’s “Jeweled Forest, a color-splashed, whimsical forest; Naomi Johnson’s photos of local food and farmers; and Nina Ruffini’s “Message” featuring bunnies adrift in boats.

    http://is.gd/bfKwB
    ………………….

  5. ashkat

    I support art, but $2250 would have paid for ten 9 hour holiday shifts of $25 per hour bus drivers.

    That might save somebody their job and would definitely save a lot of stress about how to get to work, catch my plane, etc.

  6. Rick Wingfeld

    Shame on you Asheville. You may as well turn this place back into a one horse town if you can’t provide bus service like a REAL city. Then again, why would anyone care, I’m just part of the small minority of white people who seems to ride the bus anyhow. Who cares about the majority of black folks who are stranded today (note the sarcasm?). Yee-haw, welcome to 1950 all over again (a banjo plays in the background)

  7. Gordon Smith

    FYI – The lack of service has nothing to do with the transit system’s operating budget. This is a result of a old negotiation between the Transit Union and a management company.

    In otherwords, the Art on Transit program has no bearing on this service issue. I’m with y’all – it’s ridiculous to do without service on a day that everyone needs it, but what we need is a better negotiation.

  8. bthecat

    @askat
    “I support art, but $2250 would have paid for ten 9 hour holiday shifts of $25 per hour bus drivers.”

    Now there’s an idea. I could care less what the busses look like as long as they run when I need them.

    Joe

  9. Thank God it’s the labor unions that caused people to be unable to get to work and not bus art.
    ……………………………….

  10. Kane

    Have you people never heard of walking? Riding a bike? Carpooling? Some businesses will even pick up your cab fare if necessary. The weather is perfect, get some exercise and stop complaining.

  11. Rick Wingfeld

    Kane, is that how you create social change and civic progression? Would you be willing to tell the majority of black people who are stranded today to make their kids walk 5 miles to get groceries because it’s a nice day? That kind of complacent mentality is what gives us Southerners such a bad reputation.

  12. Jill whitey

    Kane, have you ever walked from Montford to West Asheville? Perhaps you’ve walked from downtown to the Mall? Even if you have, there are plenty of people who cannot walk. Carpooling, is a mentality of driving – go ahead and carpool if you can, but not everyone has that luxury either.

    What are these businesses that pick up cabfare? I know mine wouldn’t. I certainly doubt McDonalds or IHop will pay their minimium wage workers a cab fare. They’ll probably just tell them to get there, or get fired. Riding a bike – good one for single people who don’t have much to carry and can afford the bike prices at the bike stores.

    Clearly you don’t have the disadvantage of having to rely on a piss-poor transit system, but many people rely on it. Stop thinking about things from your own limited perspective and start seeing the bigger picture.

  13. I strongly advocate driving a motorized private conveyance, such as the personal automobile.
    ………………………

  14. Jill whitey

    Oh, okay Timpeck. I’ll tell disabled, elderly, and impoverished people that they don’t count because they can’t drive.

    Hey, people who don’t drive: YOU HAVE NO RIGHTS TO GET TO WORK OR GROCERIES OR ANYWHERE when the bus doesn’t run.

  15. Angela

    It’s refreshing to see I am not the only one irritated by the transit system. I have a car but would rather be greener by using public system. For that matter I would rather spend the money on helping people keep their jobs locally by using public system. I understand that some people need time off but when providing a service you have to consider the needs of your people. Too many people turn down higher paying jobs just because they can’t get there by bus because either it’s a night position or the schedule isn’t conducive to that job. It’s sad when you have to choose a job based on the bus schedule! I think they should be closed for some holidays, the same ones most others are off for too like Christmas.

    Kane, great idea you have there. Ever try walking in Asheville….like say from West Asheville Baptist to AB-Tech? It’s dangerous as hell! That’s the other problem we have, not enough sidewalks and bike paths for people who do make an effort to find other means of travel.

  16. Jason Ross Martin

    Sorry, but there is no social contract I am aware of that guarantees anyone with public transportation. The service is limited, and not universal. One of the city bus drivers used to be a regular at a restaurant where I used to work. I am glad he got the day off today to enjoy a moment.

    It’s not like the city kept this closing a secret. It was known in advance at least long enough for a few people to complain on the MX Forums.

  17. Rick Wingfeld

    Where’s that Banjo when you need one? Sometimes, as progressive as Asheville tries to be, it’s still stuck on very important civic issues, such as 365 day bus service. No wonder downtown Asheville closes at 6pm on weekdays – people are scrambling to get home before the last bus leaves! Constant bus service is an essential service for those can’t afford or choose not to drive. Anyone who’s taken a bus in Asheville knows some of the most vulnerable citizens are relying on it. Who ARE all you privileged people with such narrow perspectives?

  18. bthecat

    Kane, I have walked from downtown to the mall. I regularly rode my bike to and from work, during the worst of winter, because there isn’t bus service when I needed it. When I was hit by a careless driver, and put into the hospital to have my shattered elbow repaired,were you cheering me on? Where was your support for my bills? Right now I can’t ride a bike, are you paying my cab fare? Will you buy me a car? I didn’t think so.

    Joe

  19. Eileen Page

    I just wanted to bring attention to the fact that the reason that the buses aren’t running is for a holiday that is supposedly a Christian observance of Jesus’ Resurrection from the dead. When you consider that not everyone is Christian and that Easter also has roots in paganism does it make sense that everything closes down for this holiday? Not to mention the face that Monday is optional. Does it make sense then that those who relay on public transportation – who can’t just walk or bike to where they are going – should have to be stranded especially if they don’t even believe in Easter to begin with!

  20. Rithm

    So, I’m one of those minimum wage workers who relies on the bus six days a week to get to work, and let me tell you, I need every hour. I was lucky enough to have a ride to work today, but if I hadn’t, I would be assed out. It’s about 8 miles from my house to my job, and they would not have appreciated me not being there, even if I gave them notice.

    That’s the thing, man. Whether or not there’s some grand social contract that guarantees me public transit, the fact is that when you’re a company that provides public transportation, you have an obligation to your customers to get them to work and back. That’s the task they shoulder, and it’s not unfair of us to expect them to be reasonable and consistent.

    And I understand. I love days off work; they’re great. But dude, Easter was yesterday. The bus already doesn’t run on Sunday; that’s a day guaranteed off every week. Christmas Day is different; pretty much everything shuts down anyways. The point is, for the real world, today was a work day, and a lot of people were left out to dry because Asheville Public Transit felt like “observing” the day after a religious holiday. And that’s messed up.

  21. Piffy!

    [b]I support art, but $2250 would have paid for ten 9 hour holiday shifts of $25 per hour bus drivers. [/b]

    Does anyone know if these two things are even part of the same budget?

  22. bob

    Get some perspective people, it’s one friggen day! If you can’t deal with one day of no bus service ride your bike!

  23. Piffy!

    Oh, and what tim and jason said about people thinking they have a ‘right’ to ride the bus. i mean, i agree the Asheville Transit sucks worse than anywhere ive ever lived, but no one has a ‘right’ to said service.

    You have a “right” to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I dont think it guaranteed that pursuit by city bus. Give your neighbors a ride if you are that concerned.

  24. Rick Wingfeld

    Again, this just goes to show how much of a brainwashed, southern mentality so many of you have. In other civilized countries, like Canada, public transit IS an essential service. Whenever the Toronto transit dares to strike, the government legislates them back to work and appoints a mediator so that vulnerable citizens don’t get stranded. But here in America – it’s everybody for themselves. Life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness – ha!

    Shameful…

  25. Fact Checker

    Gordon Smith says, “This is a result of a old negotiation between the Transit Union and a management company.” Can he please clarify. Does the City of Asheville not own and operate the Asheville Transit System? What is the Transit Union? Are the bus drivers unionized? Are other city employees unionized? What is the name of the “management company” with which the City “negotiates?” Can Mr. Smith provide a copy of the contract between the City and the “management company?” When is the contract up for renewal?

    And why hasn’t Councilman Bothwell spoken out on behalf of low income citizens who are dependent on bus transportation?

    With a large number of comments about this issue, is Mountain Xpress looking into this? Will there be a follow up story?

  26. Jason Ross Martin

    Just because I think your complaints about the bus service are unwarranted does not make me privileged. My car was in the shop for a month, and I walked back and forth to work, an hour both ways. That was just last month, with snow, etc. Besides, It takes an HOUR to get downtown on the city bus anyway from where I live, which is only 30 minutes away by foot! I have been working 2 jobs, nearly 60 hours a week, for years to maintain my apartment off Merrimon.

    I imagine that most of the people complaining about Easter Monday being a no-bus day could have found alternative plans, or did. And I doubt they are busy anticipating the next city bus closure and getting ready to accommodate their needs some other way. Any baker know that it’s the last minute cake-buyers who are the most fussy, the least committed to the purchase, and the least satisfied. They aren’t really invested in the idea of a cake enough to make a plan, and so when ‘oh my God how can you not have a chocolate cake ready’ comes out of their mouth, it’s just so easy to say “Well we did have one, and I’ve sold about 10 today to PEOPLE WHO PLACED AN ORDER” i.e. those who planned ahead as to not be disappointed.

    Oh but I don’t have a phone to call someone for a ride, I can’t ask a co-worker for a ride because I’m scared, my boss won’t understand, I can’t walk because it’s too far, I can’t afford a cab ONCE in a blue moon because the bus is closed, blah blah blah. YOU should be ashamed for being less resourceful and more dependent. News flash: this is a horrible economy, and you need to pull yourself up by your bootstraps.

    And that’s coming from a LIBERAL.

  27. pff

    Rick, Are you really trying to compare Asheville to a city of 2.5 million like Toronto?

    And you jump from pigeon holing ‘the southern mentality’ to the entire country in two sentences. Impressive!

  28. Naiya

    Okay, a need has been identified. There are people who need to go places after 6 p.m. and on Sundays and holidays in Asheville. How would a free market respond? As an Agorist, I’d say there could be a market for a good, for-profit, alternative transit system. The REAL PROBLEM is that there is NO competition for mass transit in Asheville, so they (the city’s transit system) can operate however they like. There are alternatives that DON’T involve stealing $ from your neighbors – Not to mention that a good idea could make an enterprising and creative group of people a good bit of money, solve a big problem and create jobs in the process.
    The only thing that is shameful is that people will sit around helpless and complain and hope that the nanny state steps in to solve their problems. We’ve been ‘trained’ to do that. It’s not our nature, however.

  29. Eileen Page

    The bus is a lot of peoples alternative. You can all argue either way on this but realistically, it’s called public transit for a reason. I think that yes it’s good to be resourceful and yes it’s one day, but not everyone can get a ride from a friend, not everyone knows someone with a car, not everyone is blessed to have two working legs to be able to walk. I understand if everything is closed, but Easter Monday, practically everything is open and people are working so I don’t really think that shutting down bus service on a day that is pretty much business as usual makes any sense whatsoever.

    Also, I think what Rick is trying to say is that maybe Asheville would benefit from seeing their transit system become an essential service and continue to grow as a progressive city rather than be complacent.

  30. Rick Wingfeld

    I fully agree with both Naiya and Eileen. I love the idea of a competitive alternative. But public transit should be considered an essential service nonetheless. Did I find an alternative means of travel on Monday? Yes, absolutely I did. Does that have any relevancy to the bigger picture? No – none, whatsoever. I’m not thinking about myself, I’m thinking about the people I’ve seen and met taking the bus who can barely walk. So many of these people know each other as neighbors and get on the bus together from the same poor neighborhoods. I seriously doubt they can “call a friend” for a drive as easily as the rest of us can. Let’s think about them and not compare our lives to their realities.
    in Asheville, a large majority of bus riders are poor, underprivileged black folks – that’s a fact. If you don’t like that fact, go ride the bus and see for yourself. Talk to them. Ask them how they get around on holidays. Ask them how they feel and what life is like for them before you say things like “it’s a nice day, go for a walk”.

    So should Asheville be compared to a major city? Absolutely! Unless you like being counter-progressive. Big or small – all cities have disabled, underprivileged people who need to travel.

  31. Piffy!

    [b]So should Asheville be compared to a major city? Absolutely! Unless you like being counter-progressive. Big or small – all cities have disabled, underprivileged people who need to travel. [/b]

    Do you always compare apples and oranges?

    Asheville is a relatively small city, with a small tax base. Comparing Asheville to a city with more than a million people is absurd. And your premise that challenging this comparison makes one ‘counter-progressive’ is just non-sequitur.

    Yes, asheville needs a better bus system. No, it is not practical, applicable, or even rational to compare the bus system for a city of 100 thousand with a city of 4 million.

    [b]in Asheville, a large majority of bus riders are poor, underprivileged black folks – that’s a fact. If you don’t like that fact, go ride the bus and see for yourself. Talk to them. Ask them how they get around on holidays. Ask them how they feel and what life is like for them before you say things like “it’s a nice day, go for a walk”.[/b]

    No foolin? Golly, you say that as if you just moved here! Thanks for informing us what the bus is like!

    No one has said any different, but keep making ridiculous comparisons, it belies your own lack of expericne with this issue.

  32. Piffy!

    [b]Also, I think what Rick is trying to say is that maybe Asheville would benefit from seeing their transit system become an essential service and continue to grow as a progressive city rather than be complacent. [/b]

    Well, perhaps you should edit his posts, because you make the point far more succinct and applicable.

  33. Tiger Lilly

    Cities that offer ways of facilitating economic activity (like good, reliable public transit), increase their economic success. This is, by-and-large, a good thing for most of the people who live in such a place: more shopping, more employment, a better distributed tax burden, more tourism, etc.

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