In the adopted Fiscal Year 2020 budget, Asheville City Council allocated an additional $1.2 million in funds to support year-one implementation of the Transit Master Plan. The funding is intended to focus on improvements to on-time performance, customer service and fleet maintenance, including 20,400 new service hours (to start in January 2020). This represents a 25% increase in service.
This requires an amendment to the existing transit operations and maintenance contract with RATPDev USA, the company contracted by the City to run the ART bus system.
At their Aug. 27 meeting, Asheville City Council authorized the City Manager to execute an amended contract, putting resources in place for the improved transit service to begin in January 2020.
In addition to the new service hours, the amended contract spells out additional and more stringent performance measures agreed to in order to reflect higher levels of accountability from RATPDev.
The Transit Master Plan is a 10-year plan designed with phased implementation, financing and staffing. Work is under way now to design and test new routes and route extensions. Some examples:
- A third route will be added to West Asheville. This will increase frequency along Haywood Road.
- Some routes will be combined to, in effect, create cross-town routes in which people do not have to transfer buses to get from east to west, saving travel time and offering more convenience. For example, the E1-W4 will be combined and have a new name, as well as the E2-W3.
- Routes that serve A-B Tech and UNCA will also be combined for more seamless travel between these educational institutions.
For the next few months you may see out-of-service buses riding through town, testing route times.
More specific information about the new service hours will be shared later this year after the planning and testing phase.
For more information about Asheville Redefines Transit (ART) bus routes and times, visit this link.