Local News

Higher Car Fees Could Mean More Buses for Raleigh

Posted August 3, 2007 11:56 p.m. EDT

— Raleigh drivers, get ready to pay more for your car. Registration fees are going up, and the mayor said he wants to use the money to help another form of transportation - buses.

More than 4 million people ride Raleigh city buses each year. Denise Forbes is one of them, 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.

One possible solution is to use cars to help pay for buses. The Raleigh City Council increased the car tax by $5. That means every Raleigh resident will now pay $25 to register their car. If the council approves it, Mayor Charles Meeker said that extra money would be used to enhance bus service.

“This is an increase just in the local fee that has the effect of about $1.2 million,” Meeker said.

“Whether those funds come from this car tax or council funds from another source, those funds will be needed as we move forward years four and five of our transit plan,” said David Eatman, a Raleigh Transit administrator.

Raleigh buses handle about 15,000 passenger trips every day. As the city continues to grow, more people are relying on bus service. The challenge has been keeping up and finding the right balance to ease traffic congestion all over the area.

The council had to resort to a tax increase, because they didn't get all the transportation money they were hoping for from the state, Meeker said.