Back in April, the Asheville Regional Transit Coalition sent a letter to the Asheville City Council asking them to improve the Asheville bus service by increasing transit funding by $5 million over the next five years. We are thrilled to report they have approved a substantial budget expansion for the next fiscal year! Roughly $9 million was dedicated to transit funding, a $2 million increase. Just Economics, a local nonprofit advocating for improved transit, was pleased by the decision. “We’re happy that City Council understands the needs of transit riders, and is responsive by including additional funds in the budget for transit.”
What changes can transit riders expect as a result of the budget increase? According to City Council member Julie Mayfield, the additional transit funding “continues service expansions implemented earlier this year; includes new service expansions, including eight additional weekday hours and Sunday service on all routes; supports a new and better management contract structure; and makes up for a significant loss in federal funding.” These improvements will go a long way toward accomplishing our stated goal of creating a transit system that operates in more areas for longer hours, seven days a week and at higher frequencies.
Although this budget increase is an important development, our work is not done. More improvements are needed to create a transit system that meets the needs of all community members. We therefore continue our call for City Council to increase transit funding by $5 million over 2017 levels in the next 5 years. With $2 million in additional funding already approved for the next fiscal year, we are almost halfway to our goal! If you want to make Asheville a more sustainable and equitable community, please click here and join us as we seek additional transit funding moving forward.