Published: Feb 09, 2013 05:00 PM
Modified: Feb 09, 2013 04:53 PM
CARY - In Cary, the buses dont always run on time, but that may change.
Facing increasing passenger loads and delays on some lines, the town may eliminate some bus stops and remap routes in central and southern Cary.
The changes would affect routes 1, 2 and 5 on the town-owned C-Tran bus system, scrambling some riders to other stops within walking distance.
In all, the town would eliminate seven stops and add one.
If the transportation planners are right, the change would tamp down the rising delays on the three bus lines.
This really is an improvement, said Ray Boylston, transit administrator for the town. There will be some people affected, and they may have to walk (farther), but the rerouting would bring the lines back onto schedule for hundreds of people, he said.
In all, about 60 riders per day would have to switch stops, Boylston said.
If the changes are approved by the Cary Town Council on Feb. 13:
• Routes 1 and 2 would no longer serve the Devonshire Place shopping center or the apartments along Donaldson and Nottingham drives.
• Route 6 would still run past the apartments, but residents would have to walk up to a half-mile to Lawrence Road to catch Route 1 or Route 2 to the Crossroads area.
• Route 5 would no longer service Crescent Green Drive, instead cutting along Crescent Commons Drive. Riders at Heart Fields Assisted Living, which is losing its stop, would switch to a stop about 600 yards away. Those who are disabled or older than 60 could pay $2 to $6 to use the towns point-to-point service.
The proposed adjustments are the first major change since Carys bus routes began circulating seven years ago. In that time, ridership has nearly quintupled, from about 250 riders per weekday in 2005 to more than 1,200.
On average, Routes 1 and 2 are arriving at stops seven minutes behind schedule, while Route 5 is about a minute late. That trouble can snowball for riders when they miss their connection to a Triangle Transit Authority bus to a job outside Cary, for example, they might be stuck for 30 to 60 minutes.
Boylston couldnt say how often riders miss transfers, but he said a newly installed data-tracking system will help the town analyze the problem more acutely.
In a recent survey, about 80 percent of respondents named delays as an area for improvement for C-Tran, behind complaints about evening and Sunday service.
The only alternative to the route changes would be to extend the lines and add buses at a cost of about $450,000 per year, Boylston wrote in a report to the Town Council.
Its not clear when the next major expansion of the bus system will come. Wake County leaders havent decided whether to allow a popular vote on a potential sales-tax increase that would fund an expansion of local bus routes, among other tri-county transit initiatives.
Meanwhile, Cary is installing a software and app system that will say exactly when the bus will arrive even if its not on time.