04/05/09 — Fremont, Pikeville to join GATEWAY

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Fremont, Pikeville to join GATEWAY

By Steve Herring
Published in News on April 5, 2009 2:00 AM

Fremont and Pikeville area residents, as well as those in Mount Olive and Dudley, will soon be able to travel to and from Goldsboro for about $4.

Beginning Wednesday, April 15, the GATEWAY transit system will launch routes to those communities -- routes that have been in the talking stages for more than a year and a half.

No one spoke at a March 24 public hearing when the routes were discussed. However Alan Stubbs, director of the Goldsboro-Wayne Transportation Authority that operates the system, said he thinks the routes will be a popular addition to the bus network.

"The interest I have seen, I think it will go over very well, but I think it will take several months to get it to get going for enough people to find out about it and see how it works," Stubbs said. "Also, with the economy the way it is more and more people are trying to go to school.

"We have many people today who ride the buses to Wayne Community College and at 8:30 a.m. the Wayne Memorial route is standing room only because of school. We are hoping there will be people from the Mount Olive or Dudley or Fremont and Pikeville areas who currently don't have a way to get to school, but who would like to go to Wayne Community College, and that if we offer this transportation they could get out and try to better themselves. Hopefully, we will get some students riding from some of these outlying areas."

The new routes will be two different ones each using different vehicles.

The cost will be $2 each way and a rider's first transfer ticket once they reach Goldsboro will be free.

The Pikeville-Fremont routes will be run twice daily, while the Dudley-Mount Olive route will be run three times a day.

The morning Pikeville-Fremont route will leave the GATEWAY Beech Street transfer station at 6:45 a.m. and the evening route will leave at 2:45 p.m.

Both will make stops at the Wayne County Courthouse, Wayne Memorial Hospital, Cox Boulevard (just north of the hospital) and Wayne Community College on the way to Fremont.

"In Pikeville we will turn left at the stoplight to the railroad and stop right in front of the old historic restoration building," Stubbs said. "Then we will go to Fremont and take the first road over the railroad tracks to Sycamore Street and take a left over to Washington Street.

"We will have one stop there and continue downtown to Wayne Street and take a left and beside the Sprint building we will have another stop at Goldsboro and Wayne (streets). Then it will back to Pikeville (Railroad Street) and into Goldsboro with stops at Wayne Community College, Cox Boulevard, the hospital, courthouse and then back to our transfer center."

The Mount Olive routes will start from the transfer station at 6:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Traveling south on U.S. 117 the bus will stop at the Mar Mac Food Lion and at Dudley at the Hispanic Development Center on Potts Road and Best Gas and Grill on U.S. 117 Alternate.

It will make stops near the Family Dollar Store at College Plaza Shopping Center on North Breazeale Avenue in Mount Olive and at the intersection of South Center and Hillsboro streets in the southern section of town.

After returning to Goldsboro, the bus will stop at the courthouse, hospital, Cox Boulevard and Wayne Community College before returning to the transfer station.

The afternoon and evening routes will add outgoing stops at the courthouse, hospital, Cox Boulevard and Wayne Community College on the way to Mount Olive.

However, the evening route's last return stop will be at the Mar Mac Food Lion grocery store before returning to the transfer station.

"If somebody rides to that place (transfer station) we will give them a transfer ticket where they can get onto the city bus free for their first ride," Stubbs said. "When they get back on the city bus to ride back (to the transfer station) it will probably cost them another dollar. Basically they could come to Goldsboro for $5 and ride to different places."

Stubbs said he expects the new routes to cost about $86,000 next year -- one half paid for with federal dollars, some $30,000 from the Rural Operating Assistance Program (ROAP) and about $8,000 in fares. He expects the routes to cost about $21,000 through the current fiscal year that ends June 30.

"I have some supplement (money), what is called ROAP, and supplemental money you can only use on new projects," Stubbs said. "You cannot use them for something you have already been doing, but once I use it for the new project, if I get the money next year, I can use it again for the same thing.

"I have also applied for some additional federal money to run this next year."

Stubbs said he expects that vans will be used for the routes to start with. Currently, one bus is in the shop. It was damaged after it collided with a vehicle that ran a stop sign.

"We are sort of short of equipment right now, but we are going to bite the bullet and do this," he said. "I have some new vehicles coming -- two 20-foot light transit vehicles (like a small bus) in May and another 22-footer in June and I have four new vans due in this month as replacements."

Riders with special needs are asked to call the GATEWAY office ahead of time. The phone number is 736-1374.

"If someone needs a wheelchair lift or has a child riding with them and needs a safety seat we asked that they call 24 hours ahead of time and we will make sure we have the equipment for them," he said. "If they are in a van that has seat belts they must be fastened and the child must be in a safety seat. We have them available. We just need to know to bring them."

Copies of the schedules will be available at the Pikeville, Fremont and Mount Olive town halls. Stubbs also plans to have some in Dudley at Best Gas and Grill and the Hispanic Development Center.