I truly hope the city decides not to renew the contract with First Transit.
[I have been] corresponding [via e-mail] with [Asheville] Council member Gordon Smith [about transit issues]; he says the city can't make the buses run on the Monday following Easter as the city can't directly negotiate with labor unions. That Monday [is] not a federal or state holiday, and it is ridiculous [that] people who rely on the city bus [can’t] get to work.
If the city can't "directly negotiate with a labor union" [bus service] on all work days (Monday through Friday, on non- state/federal holidays) then why deal with First Transit and a labor union? The city should take over the management of the bus system, and hire the bus drivers that want to work for the city directly — not as a union.
The city approved the Transit Master Plan and later "authorized" First Transit to make what changes they could make without actually giving them any money (for the Sunday service, etc.). Part of the Master Plan is that Route 13 and Route 29, which both go up Tunnel Road, would not leave at the same time (which is truly ridiculous — they follow each other every day). [Instead], the buses would leave one half-hour apart, to provide better service.
Has First Transit done that? No, they have not done that. Does that cost any more money? No. So fire them. Period.
— Lisa Grainger