Public input needed on bus service expansion

In the coming months, the Asheville Redefines Transit (ART) service will continue to roll out service expansions and route adjustments, including one of the most-requested improvements: holiday bus service.

Beginning January 1, 2013, the ART system will operate partial service on six out of eight holidays previously without bus service: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. This, says Transportation Manager Mariate Echeverry, will provide needed transit options for riders who commute to jobs or run errands during holiday hours.

“Of the requests we get from our riders for service expansions, holiday service is at or near the top,” Echeverry said.

Asheville City Council approved the funding needed for holiday service in its 2012/2013 budget, and the step meets the City’s goals of excellent service and continuous improvement as well as Council’s strategic goal of supporting multimodal transportation. Approved funding allows eight hours of service for each of those holidays. Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day will be the only holidays that will not have transit service.

The City of Asheville Transit Division will hold a public meeting November 1 to gather input on the most effective hours to operate holiday transit as well as present information and gather feedback about other changes, including schedule improvements to route C and route N and making permanent the increased service on route E1 along Swannanoa River Road/VA Hospital.

In August, the division increased bus departures and arrivals on route E1 to twice an hour between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. in response to rider requests. This step, Echeverry says, will make that adjustment permanent. “But we do need to hold a public meeting prior to making that change,” she said.

The Nov. 1 meeting will be held at Pack Memorial Library’s Lord Auditorium, 67 Haywood St. from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and will have a drop-in format.

In addition to the meeting, the public can weigh in on changes to the ART system via an online poll found here (poll has closed). A link to the survey can also be found at Paper surveys are also being distributed and collected at the ART Station to gather as much feedback as possible.

The public may also submit comments, no later than November 1, by email to or mail to Mariate Echeverry, Transportation Planning Manager, City of Asheville, P.O. Box 7148, Asheville NC 28802.