Fortify

Lack of riders, funding stalls two bus routes from Johnston to Raleigh

Posted March 28
Updated March 29

— It's been almost four years since the North Carolina Department of Transportation started the Fortify project, the massive rebuild of Interstates 40 and 440 in south Raleigh.

And while the highway project is scheduled to end later this year, one piece of it may end sooner.

GoTriangle's express bus routes from Fuquay-Varina and two parts of Johnston County, which were funded by the state as a way to ease congestion during the Fortify project, could experience some big changes by the time summer arrives.

Steven Holmberg says he frequents the bus that takes commuters from Fuquay-Varina to downtown Raleigh.

"It just gives me a mental break, as opposed to dealing with rush-hour traffic," he said.

Jo Ann Green said the express routes offer a "family" atmosphere.

"I love the bus driver. I love the people on the bus," she said.

GoTriangle spokesman Mike Charbonneau says the agency is looking closer at the three routes and wants to make changes, but he says that funding could be an issue.

The Fuquay Express route has been the most successful, and that service will continue thanks to funds from the Wake County Transit Plan.

But the other two routes, one from Clayton and another from the Cleveland area of Johnston County, will end June 30. Few commuters have used them, and neither has the local funding needed to continue.

Charbonneau says people in growing communities need to start talking about transit options.

"We really urge people to talk with their county leaders so we can see continued growth in transit service as we see continued growth in the region," he said.

Green said she's pleased that the Fuquay-Varina option will continue.

"It's an excellent choice of transportation. I've been praying for this for years," she said.

The Fuquay Express route will become an hourly service, with three trips in the morning and three in the afternoon, GoTriangle says.

The agency is taking public comments through Friday on the cancelation of the Clayton Express and Johnston County Express routes.

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