NC: New Fayetteville Bus Route to Begin This Fall

July 01--Starting this fall, Fayetteville bus stops will go up at the Crown Center complex as well as an Owen Drive neighborhood that lost bus service six years ago.

In its newly adopted budget, the City Council added $103,000 to create a new bus route to run mostly along Owen Drive between the Crown and Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.

With the route, the city will re-add two bus stops on Enterprise Avenue, which has Holland Homes, a public housing area with 60 families, and New Colony Place, a 100-unit apartment complex.

In 2008, the city's Fayetteville System of Transit eliminated those bus stops when other bus routes were restructured and streamlined.

Over the past four years, Marsha Jones, a Holland Homes resident, has spearheaded a campaign of letter writing and public speaking to get Enterprise Avenue bus stops restored.

"I'm very grateful," Jones, 60, said this week.

The new route, which has not been numbered yet, is scheduled to begin service in October.

Randy Hume, the FAST director, said his staff has to install bus stops and train drivers for the new route.

The exact details of the route and bus stop locations are tentative, Hume said.

"We will have our public workshops to receive public input near the near the end of July," Hume said.

He said a public hearing will be scheduled in August.

But the plan calls for adding three bus stops to the Crown Center area: one between the coliseum and the theater; one near the Expo Center; and one near the Division of Motor Vehicles/school board administration building.

Now, the closest bus stop is at the corner of Southern Avenue and West Mountain Drive, which is about a half mile from the Crown.

The new route will end service by 7 nightly, but it might have extended evening hours during some of the Crown's special events in the future, Hume said.

Jim Grafstrom, the Crown's general manager, welcomed having direct bus service.

"Anything that is giving the general public more access to the Crown is a good thing," he said.

The city has been adding FAST routes, buying new buses and extending operating hours for the past five years. Last month, the city began operating a new route that serves Strickland Bridge Road in western Cumberland County. The city is planning to break ground soon on a $10 million multi-transit center downtown that will become FAST's new headquarters and bus transfer station.

Staff writer Andrew Barksdale can be reached at barksdalea@fayobserver.com or 486-3565.

Copyright 2014 - The Fayetteville Observer, N.C.

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