Better Public Transit
Our Goal: Make transit in Buncombe County run on time, all day, and more often.
Counties that invest in public transportation invest in their workforce. Examples across the country show that high-quality public transportation makes communities more livable, affordable and accessible, and we believe public transportation should be a realistic option for all in Buncombe County who choose to ride it. A better transit system for Buncombe County will connect families to job opportunities, add flexibility and ease to the schedules of working parents, help meet our city and county goals for a healthier environment and enrich the quality of life in our communities.
But our current transit system is held back by aging infrastructure and financial restraints, making it hard for those who depend on transit to get to work, school, the VA hospital, the grocery store and more. In Asheville, about half our buses stop running at at 7:30 or earlier, and many don't come often enough for riders to depend on. Much of the county lacks real transit infrastructure, and in rural communities like Erwin, 48% of community members say they have missed employment opportunities due to lack of transportation. At the same time, the average family with children in Buncombe County spends almost $4,500 on transportation each year - an enormous burden for families that are already juggling childcare, food, and medical costs in a county where prices are only going up.
Our Proposal: Full funding for Year 1 and Year 2 of the Transit Master Plan – $4.4M ($3.2M increase)
Full funding for Year 1 and Year 2 of the Transit Master Plan $4.4M ($3.2M increase)
FFAB thanks City Council for making transit their #1 priority in 2019 and investing $1.2M in additional hours in 2020. FFAB continues to support full implementation of the City’s Transit Master Plan (TMP) that will add hours of service, more frequency, and new routes to our City’s bus service (ART). This funding request will cover the full-year costs of the TMP expansions for the first two years of the 10-year plan.
County funds to maintain existing transit service and assist in preparations for local transit to implement fare-free service – estimated at $1M ($1M increase)
FFAB thanks the County for expanding transit routes on Leicester Highway and keeping the County’s Trailblazer Transit system fare-free. A recent proposal from Commission Chair Newman to use county funds to expand fare free service to the ART system would be a major step in supporting the Transit Master Plan – which includes fare-free weekends under the first year’s plan.
What this investment provides:
- ART routes running until 10 PM or later (Mon-Sat, Sunday routes until 8 PM) making transit more viable for families working in service and retail jobs and able to attend evening school events.
- Increased bus ridership as fare-free both supports the household economics of current bus riding families and attracts new riders that opt to leave a car at home – a win for congestion and air quality in the County.