New Hanover County, city of Wilmington officials announce collaboration and commitment for public transportation

The new transportation model will balance convenience with coverage, embrace innovation and partner with other governments to equitably share in service costs.

New Haven County
New Hanover County

New Hanover County and city of Wilmington officials have partnered to evaluate and possibly restructure Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority, which is currently operating as WAVE.

“The transportation system we have today is not the one we need for the future,” said County Commission Chair Julia Olson-Boseman. “So the county and city are going to work together over the coming year and a half to build a system that strengthens public transportation and creates a more sustainable model – focusing on transportation equity, the rider’s needs, innovation in services and our community’s goals.”

During this process, the interlocal agreement between the county and city will be rebuilt with new priorities, including a transportation model that balances convenience with coverage, so routes are operated where there is the highest use and greatest need; embraces innovation; includes paratransit services county-wide; partners with other governments to equitably share in the cost for services to those communities; utilizes available revenue to ensure predictable and sustainable funding; and incorporates a governance body in keeping with the city and county’s priorities.

“All of this work will take time, so we hope to have a new structure and interlocal agreement that all of our governing bodies can agree to by July 2021,” said Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo. “While these changes are evaluated, we want to ensure our community that WAVE buses will keep running and there will be no lapse in current services.”

Both the County Commission and City Council will consider a joint resolution at their second meetings in January to officially begin this process and confirm their commitment to public transportation. There will be opportunities for public input throughout the process and the community will continue to be kept informed.

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