05/26/08 — Officials hope to get riders thinking about bus travel

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Officials hope to get riders thinking about bus travel

By Steve Herring
Published in News on May 26, 2008 1:46 PM

Wayne County officials are hopeful that an advertising campaign by the Goldsboro-Wayne Transporta-tion Authority, complete with its own bumper sticker and slogan and radio promotions, will encourage more people to take advantage of the system, especially with gas prices hovering near $4 a gallon.

The bright yellow stickers feature a gasoline pump and the phrase, "Dump the Pump -- Ride Gateway."

"You'd be surprised at the number of people riding Gateway," Wayne County Manager Lee Smith told commissioners last week. "I expect to see more (riders) in the coming years."

Commissioner Atlas Price said he was "not surprised" about the number of riders and added he would like to see the service expanded to the Mount Olive and Fremont areas.

Smith said he could see adding a fixed route to Mount Olive's retail areas.

The idea for the bumper stickers came from Gateway Director Alan Stubbs who saw a "Dump The Pump" digital sign on the front of some buses in Raleigh and decided to bring the same message to Wayne County.

He localized the slogan by adding "Ride Gateway."

Gateway buses have routes with destinations that include Berkeley Mall, Berkeley Commons, Wayne Memorial Hospital, doctors' offices, Wayne Community College, the county health department, Wayne County Public Library, the county courthouse, Goldsboro City Hall, Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, the Family Y and other locations.

The system runs four fixed routes in the city.

During April, the buses logged some 17,626 trips, while the vans made 8,825. Most riders make at least two trips per day, while some might make four, Stubbs said.

Stubbs said he had not yet noticed in increase in ridership because of higher gas prices.

"I think the economy is not that great and most people who ride our system don't have a lot of money," Stubbs said. "I talk to people all the time who say they didn't know we have a system like this."

The cost is $1 to ride the bus. A child, who is less than 42 inches tall and riding with a paying adult, rides for free.

Senior citizens, handicapped persons and those on Medicare and Medicaid might qualify for a reduced fare of 50 cents.

All transfers at the transfer center are free. The transfer center is currently located at Beech Street and Madison Avenue, although plans are in the works to shift it to the old Union Station.

Buses are equipped with lifts as are most of the vans. Gateway can supply infant and child seats for those who do not have them for the vans.

Gateway vans may be scheduled to carry anyone to any location in Wayne County and out of the county to locations such as WakeMed at Raleigh, Duke Medical Center at Durham, UNC Hospitals at Chapel Hill, Pitt Memorial Hospital at Greenville and other locations for medical appointments.

Van rates vary, so potential riders should call ahead to check them.

For more information about Gateway, call 736-1374.