Local News

Demand for Transportation Grows, Money Runs Low

Posted July 12, 2007

— Many people in Wake County depend on bus service to get around. But one program has to turn people away.

It all comes down to the county's growth and not enough money to keep up with it.

A van comes to Rose Buscemi’s Garner home, picks her up and drops her off at her job. That’s how she gets to work everyday. It's a county program she has grown to depend on, like so many others.

“Before the TRACS program, I was paying $95 a week to go to work,” Buscemi said. “Now with TRACS, I pay $20 a week.”

TRACS stands for transportation and rural access. It's a door-to-door van service for anyone who lives in rural Wake County. But as the county continues to grow, more and more people who need a ride are being denied.

The number of people needing service has doubled in the past year, but the program’s grant money has not.

“We get $140,000 from the department of transportation,” said Don Willis, Human Services Transportation director. “We’ve been stuck at that number for a couple years now.”

Transportation leaders said they have to turn away about 25 percent of the people who call.

“We would like to be able to do more than we can,” Willis said. “We would like to be able to offer more services.”

In the past, they’ve asked local mayors for help.

“We have funded them in the budget for the past three years,” said Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams.

But that's still not enough to meet the demand. Buscemi said she has been denied trips in the past. But for the most part, she has been lucky and just wants everyone to have the same mobility as she does.

“I just want it to continue to grow as much as possible,” she said. “I think it’s a great program.”

TRACS costs either $2 or $4 per trip, depending on the location. But transportation leaders say the small fees only cover about 10 percent of total operating costs. They are in the process of applying for a $90,000 supplemental grant to help fund the program.

10 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • inform Jul 14, 2007

    nowayeddy - do you know what a one chord musical instrument is worth?

  • nowayeddy Jul 14, 2007

    ladyblue, I don't need to go to a web-site set up by the republicans to lie to the population as to why they want us to think we are there. W wants oil, enough said

  • nowayeddy Jul 14, 2007

    ladyblue, I'm sure there is a point ot your last post, I guess you are saying that you agree with me, get rid of illegal (undocumented) aliens. Illegal(old speak) unducumented (new speak)

  • ladyblue Jul 14, 2007

    nowayeddy--Go to website http://reasons-for-war-with-iraq-.info?

    Then if you're interested I'll send you the webs that shows we are averages over 300 billion yearly by allowing illegals to stay in this country. That's more than Iraq war if you can do the math. One for starters is 90 Billion spent on illegal welfare and social services-http://premium.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0610279/29ldt.01.html Check out 12 billion spent on primary and secondary education who can't speak a word of English http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.01.html and will also show 3 MILLION A DAY to keep them locked up for crimes on this sight. If you're serious about wanting to stop this mess we are in for this country, stop blaming one man and get the whole picture if your mind isn't too far gone to see other facts going on.

  • nowayeddy Jul 13, 2007

    sorry, we spent the money in Iraq.

  • iamforjustice Jul 13, 2007

    we need a rapid transit system

  • lolly Jul 13, 2007

    " I know maybe Meeker can come up with a sunshine tax"

    Ssssh. he might hear you.

  • whatelseisnew Jul 13, 2007

    Yes it sure sounds too me that they could raise the charges a some for each rider and still provide a lower cost solution to people. I know maybe Meeker can come up with a sunshine tax to go along with the taxing you cause it rains and give the sun shine tax money to this service.

  • ghimmy47 Jul 13, 2007

    Good points. It also appears to me we're in danger of another self-perpetuating "right" and another bureaucracy growing. Keep it simple ... vans, drivers, insurance, one boss and one secretary. I don't know how the service works, but I'd be opposed to an on-call "taxi" at public expense.

  • rdu2rno Jul 13, 2007

    While I believe this is a needed service, I think the rates should be increased due to the price of gas, wages, and maintenance...
    How many people can ride to work for $20.00 per week.
    This story should have included actual number of persons using this service..Come on, the number has doubled from what.. one to two..Give numbers so people can see how our tax money is being spent...