When it comes to public transportation, Fuquay-Varina residents have few options. Town leaders want to change that.
As the town continues to grow, members of the Board of Commissioners say it is time to consider asking Capital Area Transit and the Triangle Transit Authority to expand their services in Fuquay-Varina.
The town’s current population of 18,000 is expected to more than triple to about 65,000 by 2035, according to Wake County projections.
Getting bus service to Fuquay-Varina was one of the main topics of discussion during the commissioners’ annual strategic planning retreat in Pinehurst Feb. 16-18.
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Capital Area Transit service ends at Wake Technical Community College, miles outside Fuquay-Varina’s main core.
Triangle Transit connects towns such as Cary, Garner, Zebulon and Wendell to Research Triangle Park, but not Fuquay-Varina.
One of the only public transit options available is TRACS, which offers door-to-door service to doctor’s appointments, grocery stores or other locations.
Because TRACS is first-come first served and daily rides are limited, it’s not a reliable system for residents, said Commissioner Charlie Adcock.
Town Manager Adam Mitchell said he wants to focus over the next few months on gathering information on how to get bus service to Fuquay-Varina. That means talking to other Wake County towns about how they got bus service and about the start-up costs, he said.
He said Fuquay-Varina will also reach out to Capital Area Transit and Triangle Transit.
Mayor John Byrne said he would like to see CAT’s express bus service from Moore Square in Raleigh to Wake Tech’s main campus near Fuquay-Varina expanded throughout the town. Potential stops in town could be the community center, town hall and parks.
The ability to connect to Wake Tech would in turn open up Raleigh and other Triangle route options for residents, Byrne said.
Partnering with other southwestern Wake County towns like Apex and Holly Springs could lead to more destination possibilities and some cost-sharing options.
“All we have to do is get to Wake Tech,” Byrne said. “It’s something we ought to take a clear look at.”
Fuquay-Varina has considered bus service in the past, but the deal fell apart, he said.
Bus service that would connect Fuquay-Varina to Wake Tech every 30 minutes is part of Wake County’s regional transit plan. That plan depends on the passage of a half-cent sales tax increase. Wake County Commissioners have not said when they will put the measure up for a public vote.
If the tax hike passes, the county could also expand bus service to connect Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs and Apex to Research Triangle Park.
Commissioner Ed Ridpath said the need for bus service was evident during the town’s pedestrian plan study. The study showed areas in town, particularly Academy Street, where few residents own cars.
“We know what those areas are in town ... and need to see if there is an option for a bus stop,” Ridpath said.