11/29/09 — Bus system will alter routes in city, county

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Bus system will alter routes in city, county

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on November 29, 2009 1:50 AM

Many bus routes will change and students attending Wayne County schools and colleges can ride the GATEWAY buses at a reduced rate, the Goldsboro-Wayne Transportation Authority has decided.

Under the new rate, students will only have to pay 50 cents for a one way ride, or $1 for an all-day ticket. The rate will apply to students with a valid identification who are attending any school or college in Wayne County.

The new route changes, which will take effect Dec. 14, involve moving many stops in the city to decrease wear and tear on the vehicles, and for safety reasons.

Some of the turns on the routes were putting more damage on the buses that necessary, and one in particular could even be dangerous. The current route that stops in front of the Spence Avenue Walmart parking lot is one of several such stops that will be moved so the buses do not drive through the parking lot, Authority director Alan Stubbs said.

"We're tearing up our vehicles, and it's very, very dangerous in and out of there," he said.

The new buses, once they arrive next year, will not be able to go into the shopping center anyway, Stubbs pointed out.

The bus route will still include a stop at Walmart, but the stop will be on Spence Avenue, and people will have to walk farther, he said. People who do not want to walk the extra distance, or who have a disability, could still have the option of riding a bus to the Rosewood Wal-Mart instead. That stop will not be moved from the front door of the store.

The new route changes are designed to minimize strain on the buses, decreasing the number of hard right turns the drivers have to make. In some places in the city, it can be "very, very tough" for the big buses to do, Stubbs said.

Although making more left turns will slow down the routes, it will also speed them up, Stubbs said.

However, it is very possible the route adjustments will be revised if necessary.

"As we get started with it, we may have to make some changes," Stubbs said.

GATEWAY also will extend bus service hours for the Christmas holiday, starting on Dec. 14 and running until Dec. 23. Hours of operation during this period will be from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. during the week and 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturdays.

The board members also voted after a public hearing to add a new Gateway Express route for the shopping season, which will depart at half past the hour from the GATEWAY center and will stop at Wal-Mart, Berkeley Commons, Target, Berkeley Mall and Kmart. The holiday route will operate from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The Northend Route will begin going to the Rosewood Walmart every hour instead of every other hour.

New route schedules will be available Monday at the GATEWAY office at 1615 Beech Street, at city hall, the Wayne County courthouse and other locations around Goldsboro.