In pushing for new riders, A.R.T. neglects longtime users

I am an old lady with arthritic knees. But I've always been able to get to Earth Fare at Westgate using the bus. No longer. It doesn't really even go there anymore. I can no longer even get to the bus terminal without walking from Pritchard Park.

A great part of the Asheville Redefines Transit re-branding was telling Asheville citizens how environmentally friendly local transportation now was, how they encourage the use of public transportation, bikes, walking, the Strive Not to Drive Week, etc. Get those cars off the road! Do you see the irony? Since I can no longer take the bus to Earth Fare, I will have to have a friend drive me there, or take a taxi — more cars on the road, not less.

In the rosy spin of trying to get more people to use the bus, they have ignored steady people like myself, who always use the bus. I suggest that the few additional people who begin to use the bus in lieu of a car will be offset by those, like myself, who will have to use cars since we can no longer use the bus.

Mayor Terry Bellamy, at the ribbon cutting re-launch ceremony, said, "We've been able to make improvements for people with disabilities.” Where? How? Am I missing something? Is she referring to Mountain Mobility? The implication is that there are new services tied in with the new routes and schedules for ART; this is not so. Mountain Mobility has had an admirable para-transit service since about 1989, which is relatively restricted to certain areas, destinations or trip purposes. It does not, to my knowledge, have new programs specifically tied in with ART, as is very strongly implied in the ART media [push].

As time goes on, I hope ART will reassess its schedules and routes and make adjustments to service the people, rather than the people having to adjust to their preordained schedules and routes. Have a comment about the new service? Let them know.

— Parrish Rhodes

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