09/07/05 — Gasoline prices put crunch on city's bus service

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Gasoline prices put crunch on city's bus service

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on September 7, 2005 1:49 PM

The Goldsboro-Wayne Transportation Authority had good and bad news Tuesday for county residents who use the public transportation service.

Due to the increase in gasoline prices, Gateway had cut back on many of its routes. Today, most have been restored.

Gateway Director Stephen Wright announced Tuesday that effective this morning, dialysis services, medical services, employment and education services are back on schedule. However, due to cost, the rural general public service and dial-a-ride service are still unavailable.

The news was a pleasant surprise to many students at Wayne Community College who cannot afford high gas costs and rely heavily on Gateway to take them to and from class. Charles Wilson, a student at WCC, said he has been struggling to get to class since education services were suspended.

"I'm glad they're going to be up and running tomorrow," he said Tuesday. "I was hoping I wouldn't have to miss too much more class and I really can't get over there without the bus."

Also, fixed-route services within the city limits will be back on track today. Buses and vans will run every two hours from 6:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Additionally, Gateway will offer transfers at any stop along the route, allowing passengers to reach their destinations at no additional cost.

But like any business, Gateway faces the challenge of living within its means while gas prices remain high. In order to keep up with the rising cost of fuel, fares will increase.

On Tuesday, the Gateway board approved an increase in rates and said riders can expect to continue to pay more for services until gas prices come down.

As long as gasoline costs are between $3.00 and 3.50 per gallon, the flat rate for all in-county trips will increase from $8.00 to $8.50 each way and out-of-county trips will increase to $40 each way. Should gas prices reach $3.50-4.00 per gallon, the flat rate will be increased to $9 each way for in-county and $45 each way for out-of-county trips.

Should the cost of gasoline increase to $4 or more, rates for in-county riders will increase to $10 each way. For those traveling out of county, the price will increase to $50.

Rate increases can be attributed to the fact that last Thursday, the city indicated that for the next few weeks it could no longer provide unleaded gas to Gateway service, and although a few vehicles can still fill up on diesel, unleaded is in much higher demand. Therefore, until the city is able to provide gasoline again, an expected two to four weeks, it must be purchased by Gateway in the same way it is purchased by Goldsboro residents, from public gas stations.