Local News

Raleigh Looks to Boost Buses With Higher Fee for Car Tags

Raleigh residents could end up paying more to register their vehicles, with the money going to enhance bus service.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Raleigh drivers, get ready to pay more for your car. Registration fees likely are going up, and the mayor said he wants to use the money to help another form of transportation – buses.
The $5 increase – to $25 – would bring about $1 million more to the city and would go to improve the city bus service, Mayor Charles Meeker said.

Meeker said the City Council had to ask the Legislature for the increase because it did not get all the transportation money it wanted from the state.

More than 4 million people ride Raleigh city buses each year – about 15,000 passenger-trips daily. Denise Forbes is one of the riders, but it's not always convenient for her, she said.

“Going to work, I have to catch a cab from my house to the bus station or a bus stop that’s close enough to get to, then get on the bus,” she said.

Her complaint is that there are not enough buses and not enough stops.

Raleigh’s bus service does not go beyond Interstate 540. There are also pockets within southeast Raleigh where there is no service. Where there is service, passengers can wait as long as an hour on some routes.

"While this increase in the registration fee is helpful," Meeker said, "the overall situation on transportation funding is not helpful in that the great majority of gas-tax money collected here in Raleigh and Wake County, much of it goes outside of Wake County, where it is spent. So, we don't get the full benefit of our gas taxes."

The Raleigh City Council still has to approve the increase now that it has authority to do so. Meeker said that could happen in September or October. If approved, it would likely take effect in 2008.

Other Wake County towns might also raise vehicle fees to meet transportation needs. Residents living in Garner, Holly Springs, Rolesville, Knightdale and Morrisville could pay an extra $10 per vehicle.