Raleigh seeking input on million dollar ‘bus rapid transit’ plan

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The City of Raleigh is asking help in overhauling local transit, but it won’t necessarily improve traffic.

Every month more than 50,000 people ride the GoRaleigh bus up and down New Bern Avenue.

The City of Raleigh believes they have a plan that could increase those numbers.

“Certainly these projects are certainly alternatives to vehicles,” said Raleigh Transit Administrator David Eatman.

Nationwide bus rapid transit isn’t a new concept, but it is new to the Triangle.

CBS 17 asked Eatman what that could mean to Triangle drivers.

“You’re thinking about improved reliability,” said Eatman. “You will see improved speeds because travel distance is shorter. The amenities are of a much higher quality than what we’ve experienced with the existing network.”

Eatman says to accomplish that goal, multiple buildings similar to the downtown bus terminal would be built.

“Instead of a regular bus stop we’re talking about stations with level boarding, real-time passenger information, and they would occur up and down the corridor,” said Eatman. “Generally spacing is about a mile, but can be less.”

Entire lanes of traffic would need to be dedicated to city buses.

“We’re not always going to reduce traffic volumes,” said Eatman. “We’re a growing area, so we’re going to see that happen. What it does is slow down the growth of traffic, and provides a convenient alternative.”

The plan comes with a price tag in the neighborhood of $60 million, and taxpayers been paying for it since 2017 through a 1/2 cent sales tax.

“Even with a robust funding source it takes a partnership with our federal partners,” said Eatman. “Our financial model currently assumes a 50 percent match for that, but it’s eligible for more.”

That’s why city leaders need input from 6 to 8 p.m. at WakeMed Andrews Center in an effort to get the program up and running by 2023.

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