Starting early next year, the Capital Area Transit bus system will roll out one of its biggest expansions in service since the recession.
Transit planners are seeking feedback about the proposed changes, which will put more buses on the city’s busiest routes during midday, evening and weekend hours. Other routes will see tweaks, and a few little-used bus stops in North Raleigh will no longer be served.
The Raleigh City Council recently increased bus funding, but CAT doesn’t have the vehicles to add more trips during rush hour. “Our limiting factor right now is we don’t have enough buses,” transit planner Carmalee Scarpitti said.
Scarpitti said the city has ordered more buses, but they won’t hit the roads for about a year because the manufacturer must build them.
“You don’t just go to the bus garage and pick one up,” she said.
The expanded service and route changes come as CAT considers a proposed fare increase. The fare for in-town trips, which has not changed since 2007, would rise to $1.25 in 2014 and $1.50 in 2015.
The fare increase has drawn fire from some community leaders, including Octavia Rainey, who points out that the downtown R-Line circulator remains free while the city’s poor must pay to get around.
“That is nothing but a black tax,” Rainey said, noting that many bus riders are minorities. “They should not be increasing fares at all.”
Here’s a look at the proposed changes for each area of the city: