Gastonia City Council unanimously approved a major change to the public transportation system in their first 2024 meeting.
Starting July 1, 2024, the city will shift from fixed bus routes to a microtransit service.
The move, directed by Randi Gates, the Gastonia Department of Transportation director, aims to enhance the current system and reduce costs.
The new microtransit system, similar to Uber and Lyft, enables users to schedule rides through an app or phone call, eliminating the one-hour headway at bus stops.
Why it matters: Under the current system, a simple errand can take hours due to wait times. The microtransit service, with a 15-minute headway, promises greater efficiency.
By the numbers: Via, a transportation company specializing in microtransit, will carry out the new program.
The budget covers vehicle costs, with the city eligible for an 80% reimbursement from the Federal Transit Authority for initial purchase and maintenance.
The FTA will also fund driver pay at $20-$22 per hour.
Despite a potential increase in user fees ($1.25 per bus ride), the city's overall cost is expected to decrease, shifting from $1.55 million in FY 2024 to $1.54 million in FY 2025.
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