06/08/09 — GATEWAY gets wheels for routes

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GATEWAY gets wheels for routes

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 8, 2009 1:46 PM

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GATEWAY has added six new vehicles and is pushing its new rural route program.

The Goldsboro-Wayne Transportation Authority GATEWAY bus system recently put into operation six new vehicles on its rural routes -- four vans, a 20-foot light transportation vehicle (LTV) and a 22-foot LTV.

Authority Director Alan Stubbs said the move to the larger vehicles was necessitated by the shrinking number of passenger seats offered in the vans that have gone from 13 seats to eight.

The new vans can accommodate a wheelchair and seven passengers or two wheelchairs and three passengers. The cost was $37,744 each.

The 20-foot LTV seats 10 passengers plus one wheelchair or seven with two wheelchairs. It cost $47,500. The 22-foot LTV seats 13 passengers plus one wheelchair, or 12 passengers plus two wheelchairs. It cost $55,000.

Federal funds paid for 80 percent of the cost, while local and state funds accounted for 10 percent each.

GATEWAY operates 22 rural vehicles, all of which have wheelchair lifts save for one minivan. All of the new vehicles have electronic passenger doors, meaning the driver pushes a button instead of operating a lever to open and close the door.

The old vehicles will help pay for their replacements. Eight have been sold and another has been kept to use for parts.

Stubbs lists the surplus vehicles at govdeals.com. Two were sold two weeks ago and Stubbs is hoping to have two more sold by Monday. Once they are sold, he plans to put two more on sale.

People interested in the vehicles should log onto govdeals.com. Locate QAL at the top of the Web page and type in 2362 and search. People also may call Stubbs at 920-7597 or inspect the vehicles at the city garage on Clingman Street.

The used vehicles, he said, are in much demand. One was sold to man who came to Goldsboro from Pennsylvania. People refurbish them either to resell or to use them for other jobs such as to carry farm workers, Stubbs said.

All proceeds from the sales go back into the agency's general fund.

"It helps us pay some of the local match," he said.

Meanwhile, ridership on the new routes to Pikeville and Fremont and Dudley and Mount Olive has not been what was hoped for, Stubbs said.

To stimulate interest, people may ride those routes free through the rest of the month into Goldsboro stopping at different locations in the city. Riders who stop at the Beech Street transfer station will receive a free transfer to a city bus.

It would then cost $2 to ride back along either route or $3 if a rider has to purchase a second transfer ticket. Normally the fee is $2 for each trip on the new routes.

The Pikeville/Fremont route is run twice at day, the first starting at 6:45 a.m. at the transfer center and the second at 2:45 p.m. The Mount Olive routes run at 6:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. It includes stops in Dudley.

The GATEWAY board will discuss whether to keep the two new routes when it meets on July 28.

GATEWAY also provides an on-demand service for people who call 48 hours in advance. The cost is $4 each way for county residents and $5 for city residents

"There are still so many people who don't realize they can ride the bus," Stubbs said.

Stubbs said he is available to speak to church, civic and other groups that want to learn more about the system.