April 16, 2013

N.C. transit to celebrate 20 years

On April 19, Triangle Transit will celebrate 20 years of service.

Durham Mayor William V. “Bill” Bell was one of the charter members of Triangle Transit’s board of trustees and is on the Board today.

“In my city we have a saying, ‘Great Things Are Happening in Durham’ and Triangle Transit is one of those things,” Bell said. “We’ve benefitted from our 20-year experience with a staff that understands the need for transportation. Many residents depend on us for good routes and routes on time and hopefully in the future we’ll have a light rail system.”

When the first buses rolled out of Park Center on NC Highway 54, Triangle Transit had 35 staffers. Today, it takes 191 full- and part-time employees to help operate regional bus, vanpool, paratransit, planning, customer service, marketing, public affairs and sustainable transportation services. Ridership for the first year averaged 500 daily compared with 7,000 daily last month. FY 2012 ridership hit a new high of 1.57 million passengers.

Triangle Transit has 14 regional routes, five weekday express routes, four shuttle routes, 64 buses, 68 vanpools and 10 paratransit vehicles. There are 17 hours of service each weekday and 13 hours of service on Saturdays.

Among the firsts for Triangle Transit: the leader in the nation in a regional real-time arrival system with on-time data for five transit systems and the first in the state to use the Bus on Shoulder Program on I-40 in Durham when traffic is congested. The agency also manages DATA for the City of Durham and transit services for the Robertson Scholars Program.

In commemorating the anniversary, GM David King acknowledged the progress that’s been made and what’s ahead.

“Triangle Transit is proud to have provided transportation options in our first 20 years for commuters, students, families and those who need mobility choices,” King said. “In the next five years, we’ll add 17.5 percent more bus service in Durham and Orange counties. We will continue work on the Durham-Orange light rail transit project and work with Wake County to complete its transit plan. Our 20 years of success are due to those who’ve ridden with us and the employees who’ve worked to provide great customer service. The future looks great.”

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