Local News

Cary May Scale Back Local Bus Service

Posted December 13, 2004

— With a possible tax increase looming, Cary is looking to cut costs. One service that council members will consider scaling back is one of the country's only door-to-door bus services.

With a reservation,

C-Tran

buses provide door-to-door service for just $2 a trip. Ramona Jones, who uses the bus system everyday, moved to Cary a year ago to get away from New York City. She said she has never learned how to drive and has no plans to start now.

"I work everyday, so I need the C-Tran bus to take me to work and pick me up from work," she said.

Almost 45,000 people rode the C-Tran buses last year, and Cary expects that to jump to 53,000 next year.

Cary spends nearly $1 million to operate its door-to-door bus system. The question the town council has to answer is whether it can keep that up with growing demand.

"The trend has actually shifted, whereas before it was seniors and people with disabilities. Now, 60 percent of the trips are from the general public," said Cary transit planning coordinator Ray Boylston.

Mayor Ernie McAlister said the system has overgrown its original purpose, which was door-to-door service for seniors and people with disabilities. One option he said the council will likely consider, is dropping door-to-door drop-off for anyone who does not meet those requirements and creating a route system for them.

That concept would save the town money and keep seniors like Jones happy.

"Personally for myself, I'd love to keep it door-to-door service. When I come home from work it's dark, so they bring me right to my door," Jones said.

The town council could make a decision as early as January.

The mayor said another reason the council is likely to create a route system for the able public, is because eventually Cary wants to become part of a regionalized system. Right now, Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill all operate on routes so it could ease Cary residents into that system.

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