It is my belief, as a frequent patron of Asheville Redefines Transit, that [we need] a drastic overhaul of the aforementioned system. How is it — in a city where the vast majority of workers are employed in one facet of the service industry or another — the buses stop running to certain areas as early as 8:15 in the evening? Not to mention the fact that they do not even run on Sundays, a day that may be sacred to Christianity, but is nonetheless just another day of selling shoes, making sushi or serving beers to the countless tourists who visit our city every week.
As a full-time worker and student, it is infuriating that, in order to attend night classes at the local community college, I have to walk all the way to the entrance of the hospital in order to catch a bus. I usually end up missing my bus due to the amount of time it takes to walk there.
While I hurriedly make my way to the stop, I am constantly reminded of how the city of Asheville throws away our hard-earned tax money: ridiculous artsy nonsense. There are new ornate “artistic” street signs, often located next to the traditional green reflective signs pointing out the exact same thing. These signs cost the city over $1 million! Not to mention the re-branding of the bus system as ART, which I’m sure cost the city thousands: the repainting of buses, the new website, new brochures and the advertising campaign. I have attempted to find an exact dollar amount for this project but the specific figures elude me.
I am simply frustrated with the utter disregard the elected leaders of this city seem to have for the very workers who are the backbone of this service economy. The next time the City Council considers spending large chunks of money on some “quality of life” improvements, they should consider extending the bus service so that we in the tourist machine can more easily make it to and from work.
If they did this, they would accomplish something that is rarely even attempted in Asheville: improving the actual quality of life for the average working-class resident.
— John Lapp