State funding, not Transit Master Plan, killed the Weaverville-Asheville bus route

As a member of the City of Asheville Transit Commission, I wanted to clarify some of the information presented in David Hall's letter in the Nov. 18 issue of Mountain Xpress.

At this time, the city is still working on the implementation plan for the recently approved Transit Master Plan. The changes that Mr. Hall speaks of are not a result of the Transit Master Plan, but were caused by funding issues at a state level. It is unfortunate, but Route 54 was discontinued because it did not meet the criteria for funding under the state's Intercity Routes program (the Town of Weaverville also decided to discontinue their contribution to the route). Changes to the Black Mountain route had to be made for these same reasons. Those affected by the loss of Route 54 may be able to access their destinations via Mountain Mobility's North Buncombe Trailblazer.

Regarding the fares, the transit system has not changed its rate for most routes. The fares for Route 28 did increase in order to compensate for the funding shifts, but these increases are not systemwide. Additionally, the Asheville Transit System does offer discounted rates for disabled riders and seniors.

The Transit Commission and the Asheville Transit System both work to gather feedback and input from riders. As a commission, we encourage those interested in the transit system to attend our monthly meetings. Information about our meetings and about upcoming changes within the transit system can be found at Riders with comments or questions can also correspond with transit staff by e-mailing or calling 253-5691.

— Josh O'Conner
City of Asheville Transit Commission

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