The Greensboro Transit Agency (GTA) has announced expanded Sunday bus service will begin on Sunday, July 4.
Starting July 4, the Sunday bus service will mirror the current Saturday service, which means expanding from the current Sunday service of seven combined routes to 17 individual routes. Buses will operate with hourly frequency beginning at 6 a.m. and ending at 10 p.m. The current Sunday bus service ends at 6 p.m.
Along with expanding the GTA fixed route service, GTA will also expand the Access GSO (formerly SCAT) citywide paratransit service to 10 p.m. According to a recent report to the City Council, Greensboro is the only city in the state that offers citywide paratransit service. Federal regulations require that paratransit service be provided within three-fourths of a mile of fixed route service. Every other city in the state with bus service provides paratransit service only within the federally mandated area.
GTA Marketing and Communications Specialist Kevin Elwood said in a press release, “The timing couldn’t be better to offer this service expansion for the transit riders of Greensboro. With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in the community and ready access to preventative vaccines, riders are safely returning to lives put on hold in 2020. People are once again visiting family, shopping, attending theaters and games, visiting houses of worship and much, much more. No longer will passengers have to plan Sunday events and travels with a 6 p.m. curfew.”
Riders on GTA and Access GSO are still required to wear masks and social distance when possible.
Expanding service also means increased costs. According to GTA the total cost of the expanded Sunday service is $2.7 million. However, $2.2 million will be covered with federal dollars and $500,000 with city funds.
The fare for GTA and Access GSO is $1.50. The cost to the city per ride on GTA is $4.13 and the cost per ride for Access GSO is $31.
GTA had recommended raising the fare for Access GSO to $3 on Jan. 1, 2022, but the City Council appeared in agreement to modify that to raising the fare incrementally by 50 cents per year.
Re. The bus transit expansion. Please get information on the number of riders using the busses and at what hours. Even before the pandemic and at rush hours, I never saw many riders. We certainly want transportation for those who need it and it would save cost for drivers, considering gas, parking and other expenses. Why do we need such large busses for such a few riders?
And if we lose money getting rid of these busses for even more expensive to operate electric busses, what is going to happen to balancing the budget for the government?
PLEASE do a follow-up story on this in a few months! $2.7MM to expand a service where between 0 & 4 people are on a bus at any given time? Makes no sense whatsoever. How many people use the Sunday service? How much did it increase? What percentage of total rider capacity are the routes operating at? If the Feds are coughing up $2.2MM, and the City $500k, what are the routes generating in revenue? (We know already, but what the hell…) You get the drift…