Apex could see changes to bus service

aramos@newsobserver.comApril 3, 2014 

  • If you go

    Apex and Triangle Transit will host a workshop from 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, April 8, at Town Hall, 73 Hunter St. Topics will include proposed bus-route changes, new sidewalks and a bridge replacement.

    For more information about proposed changes to bus Route 311, go to www.triangletransit.org.

— Commuters could soon have a quicker way to get to Research Triangle Park, but public transportation users could have fewer places to get on the bus in Apex.

Triangle Transit might eliminate all of the bus stops on N.C. 55 through Apex to create a shorter express route to RTP starting Aug. 18.

The proposed change for Route 311 means Apex would go from having about a dozen bus stops to two – at Apex Town Hall and Lake Pine Plaza.

The route would no longer stop at the Beaver Creek Commons shopping center or at the Compare Foods park-and-ride.

Triangle Transit is considering several route changes as part of its semi-annual review process. Twice a year, the authority looks at ridership and ways to improve service to fit customers’ needs, said spokesman Brad Schulz.

While most other Triangle Transit routes are seeing increases in ridership, Route 311 has decreased or been stagnant the last several years, according to the group.

So the bus service wants to make the route more attractive to RTP commuters by reducing travel time and using N.C. 540, Schulz said.

The current route takes about an hour to get from Apex to the Regional Transit Center in Durham.

Even with a shorter travel time, Robert Smith said he will probably stop riding the bus. He plans to buy a car.

But his bus stop could be eliminated, so he would have to walk to the Lake Pine Plaza, which is further.

“It picks me up in front of my house,” Smith said. “As bad as the walk is, riders have to be concerned about the weather. Think about if you have to walk through the rain, sleet, snow, cold. It’s tougher.”

Peter Tomaino recently moved to Apex with his wife from Virginia Beach, Va., to stay with his mother. He is unemployed and doesn’t have a car, so he once used the 311 bus to give plasma in Raleigh to make some money.

“This is the only bus that goes there,” Tomaino said. “They want to encourage people to use transit, but they take away places for people to go.”

Tomaino said he worried how he would get to work once he finds employment.

“That means I can’t get there even if I did get a job,” he said.

Bus riders can voice concerns or learn more about the route changes during a public workshop Tuesday at Apex Town Hall. The drop-in session will be from 4-6 p.m.

Commuters who can’t attend the workshop can fill out a survey on Triangle Transit’s website, www.triangletransit.org.

During the workshop, Apex will also share information about a $1.8 million project to replace the Kelly Road bridge; add 920 feet of new sidewalk on Tingen Road; add 500 feet of new sidewalk on Old Raleigh Road East; and add new turn lanes at the intersection of U.S. 1 and Ten Ten Road.

Ramos: 919-460-2609; Twitter: @AlianaCaryNews

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