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Plan Aims to Promote Public Transportation for Downtown Raleigh Employees

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RALEIGH — One of the best ways to ease Triangle traffic is to reduce the number of people who ride alone. The problem is finding people who want to do it and finding a place where it works.

TheTriangle Transit Authoritythinks it could work in downtown Raleigh -- a place with lots of workers in a concentrated area, few parking spaces and plenty of mass transit.

"In the long run, it keeps us down on taxes because every time we get taxed, it's because they have to expand (Interstate) 40 or they're doing something to the beltline. Riding the bus costs $30 a month," says Demetrius Hunter, who uses public transportation.

The TTA just won a $12,000 grant to promote public transportation and ridesharing in downtown Raleigh. It plans to study mass transit options and get the word out to commuters.

"It probably would not be as convenient as it is to have your car, but I'd certainly be willing to bear a little inconvenience to help everybody out," says downtown employee Whit Powell.

The plan calls for employers to steer their workers toward public transportation, car pools, flex time and telecommuting.

The city of Raleigh is one of the biggest employers downtown with 2,900 people on its payroll.

City manager Dempsey Benton says Raleigh already offers city employees a 50 percent discount on bus passes and sets aside the most convenient parking for carpoolers. Benton says he is open to new ideas, but he hopes any traffic reduction program stays voluntary and incentive-based.

No one has made it work yet, but the concept is simple: Get more people off the road and there will be more road for everyone.


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