Cumberland Officials End a "FAST" Bus Route
Posted August 6, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT
FAYETTEVILLE — Dozens of people received some bad news on their way home from work Monday. The bus service they depend on made its last run Monday night. Now many riders are not sure how they will make it to work in the days to come.
Monday night, city council members voted against funding the Hope Mills bus service.
"I'm not going to give up the fight," George Cunard declares.
For more than a year, Cunard has walked the same road to get home. It is the path he takes when he gets off the Route 20 bus on Sandhill and Smith Roads. On Monday, Cunard's walk home was different -- because it was his last.
"Nobody considers the average person out here that cannot drive a car, or doesn't want to buy a car or the insurance," he says.
Cunard is not the only person who needs the Fayetteville Area System of Transit (FAST) to get around.
Last month, Kevin Wright never imagined he would depend on public transportation to get to work.
"I got in an accident three weeks ago and it will probably be another two weeks before my car gets fixed," Wright said.
Last June, FAST planned to cancel the route when they ran out of money but Fayetteville city council members and Cumberland County commissioners agreed to keep the bus running until they could find the money.
Now they say the route is simply too expensive.
"We can't afford to send taxpayer's dollars to Hope Mills," says city council member Curtis Worthy. "There's no win for them, and unfortunately we don't have a better answer."
That is an answer Hope Mills passengers do not want to hear.
"This is not right. This is not right. We all need rides," Cunard said.
A special committee with city and county leaders will meet to come up with possible options for transportation.
This is not the only bus route that is running into money problems. Route 40, which runs through Fayetteville, Fort Bragg and Spring Lake will face the same funding concerns next year.