Local News

Triangle Transit Authority Offers A Rush Hour Solution

Posted May 9, 2001 10:24 a.m. EDT

— Time is money, but is money worth your time? The Triangle Transit Authority hopes an appeal to your pocket will help to change your driving habits.

According to the American Automobile Association, a 40 mile commute to and from work each day, factoring in gas and maintenance, costs a family between $370-440 per month, depending on what you drive.

Taking a TTA bus could save you thousands of dollars per year.

In Research Triangle Park, there is a smart commute campaign to encourage people to ride the buses.

You can figure that most people who use TTA buses like them.

"I love this," says one woman. "Keeps me from getting frustrated with the traffic."

"Now that I'm at one main building," says another, "it works out well for my schedule."

TTA Manager Jim Ritchey admits the bus system has its problems; otherwise there would be fewer empty seats at rush hour.

"The biggest shortcoming is that it always takes longer to use TTA than it does to drive your automobile," he says.

But one recent trip from Pleasant Valley Promenade to RTP took 25 minutes, and one from RTP to North Carolina State University took just 29 minutes. Both were during rush hour, and both were with stops.

Passengers we spoke to were not as concerned with trip times as they were with the limited number of times and places you can use the TTA.

Ritchie says that over the next five years, TTA plans to triple the amount of bus service it offers. To pay for that, he is lobbying for a $4.00 increase on vehicle registration fees.

"That is essential if we are to expand services as the customers [have indicated they would like]," says Ritchey.

The TTA plans to increase from 25 buses at peak hours to 79 by 2005. The TTA has the money to buy the buses, but not yet the money to operate them.