On July 24, City Council voted to approve a new Transit Master Plan for Asheville. As Asheville and the surrounding area face enormous growth, this plan is the blueprint for how to increase transit service and infrastructure over the next ten years.
The plan doesn’t do any good if it just sits on a shelf. The City of Asheville has approved a plan to move Asheville forward – now let’s make sure they fund it.
First-Year Improvements in the Transit Master Plan Include:
- Extending service hours across routes until 10 PM on weekdays and Saturdays, and service on some key corridors extended until midnight. Service hours will be extended to 8 PM on Sundays and holidays.
- Creating 15-minute service on Haywood Road between Downtown and State Street.
- Creating 30-minute service to AB Tech from downtown.
- Increasing frequency on the main east-west corridors of Patton Avenue and Tunnel Road.
Longer-Term Improvements in the Transit Master Plan Include:
- Creating 15-minute frequency on Merrimon Avenue up to Beaverdam Road.
- Creating 30-minute frequency on Hendersonville Road, with hourly service to Biltmore Park and the airport.
- Creating hourly service on the Enka route to an area that is not currently served at all.
- Creating hourly service on the Carrier Park and Swannanoa River Road route to two areas that are not currently served.
- A Downtown Shuttle that will provide greater mobility in the Central Business District and reduce overcrowding on other routes.
Service Expansion into Buncombe County
The plan also recommends service extensions beyond the city limits and into Buncombe County and other neighboring communities. Some of these could be provided using the existing ART system, with additional funding from regional partners for the sections that extend beyond the city limits. Other recommendations for service beyond the city limits are for longer routes that could not be accomplished with the current ART system, and would have to be developed with Buncombe County and other regional partners.
Asheville and Buncombe county residents cannot wait decades for high quality public transportation, especially those who have no other transportation options for work, school, childcare and daily errands. ARTC calls on City Council to fully fund the new Transit Master Plan beginning in the 2019/2020 budget cycle.