Jessica Morriss, Asheville’s assistant director of transportation, explained that the higher costs were primarily driven by federally mandated door-to-door paratransit service for residents with disabilities. The remaining transit budget gap, she said, was due to higher-than-expected prices for fuel and electricity to power city buses.
City staff announced that a plan to extend the hours of all bus routes until 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 8 p.m. on Sunday will likely be delayed until after the start of the next fiscal year during the Oct. 22 meeting of Asheville City Council.
Questions linger about the buses’ capability to keep up with their diesel and hybrid counterparts on Asheville’s demanding roads. Issues with the length and battery life of the vehicles have led city officials to delay the planned purchase of three more electric units.