Steven Goldsmith wasn’t keen at first on riding the bus from North Raleigh to his job downtown, but he liked the traffic on Capital Boulevard even less.
After driving to Triangle Town Center, parking his car and riding a bus to the GoRaleigh station across from Moore Square, he soon found he liked the peace that comes with being a passenger.
“I didn’t have to worry about traffic, and I could check email and start working,” said Goldsmith, who works in communications for software company Red Hat, located a block away from the downtown bus station.
“After an initial trial, I was hooked,” Goldsmith said.
Raleigh leaders hope more people will choose public buses, especially now that the city has finished renovating the station by Moore Square. They also hope riders will have an easier time boarding buses downtown.
Boarding times flashed on wall-mounted television monitors and the roar of bus engines echoed off the walls as city and transportation officials ceremonially welcomed the public to the station Tuesday morning.
Raleigh partnered with GoRaleigh, a regional transit organization, to spend $10 million to demolish and rebuild much of the 29-year-old facility between Wilmington and Blount streets on downtown’s east side. What was once a cavernous tunnel lacking informational signs has been transformed into a spacious terminal with more seating and television monitors that flash bus schedules in real time.
Riders, “this system is for you,” Raleigh City Council member Corey Branch said Tuesday. “Tell us if there are any issues and we’ll work through them.”
Officials spoke as much about Raleigh’s commitment to expanding and improving the region’s transportation options as they did about station renovations.
The bus station was re-designed to accommodate more buses and more riders that are expected to come once the city and GoTriangle implement the Wake Transit Plan, which county voters approved last year. The station currently serves 35 bus routes per day and nearly 80 buses per hour during peak hours. That could jump to 150 buses per hour once the plan is fully implemented in the next few years.
The renovation comes just months before the city completes Union Station, a new train-oriented transit hub on downtown’s west side. Seven blocks along Martin Street will separate the three-story transit hub, which will include office and dining space, from the bus station at Moore Square.
The bus station renovation signifies “the dawn of a new era,” said Jason Horne, a Raleigh resident who serves on GoRaleigh’s board of directors.
“Raleigh is serious about public transit,” Horne said. “The GoRaleigh station underlines that, and Union Station will be an exclamation point.”