02/16/09 — GATEWAY will look at plans for future growth

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GATEWAY will look at plans for future growth

By Steve Herring
Published in News on February 16, 2009 1:46 PM

Staff Writer

A state study to look at the performance and organization of the GATEWAY transportation system will get under way later this month.

The agency's board of directors Tuesday afternoon appropriated $15,000, its share of the $142,000 study. The money was already in the budget and the appropriation was a formality, said Alan Stubbs, director of the Goldsboro-Wayne Transportation Authority. The remainder of the cost will be borne by the state.

The local match includes $8,700 for the rural side of the bus system and $6,300 for the urban portion.

Normally, the two are separate. However, GATEWAY operates both rural and urban routes.

The state Department of Transportation requires that that the studies be conducted every five years. The study also will look at a 10-year mid-range plan and a 20-year long-range plan.

The five-year plan will include detailed maps of the service changes and capital needs.

The 10-year plan will address authority needs, projects and programs from 2016 through 2020, while the 20-year plan will look at 2021-30. Both will include service alternatives, capital needs, institutional/management needs, financial alternatives.

A kickoff meeting will be held Tuesday, Feb. 24 at City Hall at a time to be announced later. Local and state officials as well as representatives of Simpson Engineers and Associates, the consulting engineering company hired to conduct the study, are expected to attend the meeting.

It is expected to take five to six months to complete.

"The study will look at bus routes and any changes that may be needed," Stroud said. "It will look at the way we do business and maintenance, the complete operation.

"Basically, it will look at everything that we do and make recommendations. They will tell us what we need to be doing and how to get there."

The study won't be confined to schedules, buses and officials, Stubbs said.

"A lot of people in the community will be involved," he said. "They (consultants) will hold steering committee meetings and two public meetings."

Meetings also will be held with local human resources directors.

"They will look at demographics," Stubbs said. "They will be looking at where we get our money and places we aren't getting any and let us know about that."

The people who ride GATEWAY buses will be interviewed as well.

"They will be looking at the needs for a new transfer station, most likely on the Union Station property," Stubbs said.

GATEWAY has implemented a new route that makes stops in the New Haven community and reaches as far as the new Wal-Mart on U.S. 70 at Rosewood.

To promote more ridership, the authority has implemented two new tickets.

People may purchase a 22-ticket booklet for $20. Normally the tickets are $1 each. All-day tickets are available as well for $2.50 for full fares and $1.25 for people who qualify for half fares.

Stubbs is still seeking sponsorships for bus stop benches. The cost is $100 per bench. Anyone interested in sponsoring a bench should contact Stubbs at 736-1374 or his cell phone at 920-7597.