City puts brakes on bus route
By Mark Wineka
After a six-month trial run of providing daily bus service to Catawba College, Salisbury Transit has decided the low ridership justifies killing the route.
“At least we gave it a shot,” Mayor Susan Kluttz said.
From Oct. 13, 2008, to May 8, city buses ran an expanded route of three additional stops in the college area, including West Corriher Street and Brenner Avenue, Summit and Brenner avenues and West Innes Street and Summit Avenue.
Stops were made at 7 a.m.; 8 a.m. and 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Saturday stops were made at noon and 1, 2, 3 and 4 p.m.
Only 244 riders used the service during the trial, or an average of about 33 riders a month.
Public Services Director Tony Cinquemani and Transit Director Rodney Harrison reported that the college had actively promoted the availability of the bus service.
Officials used college Web sites, fliers, an information booth at the Student Center, Facebook and e-mail updates to students. The service also was promoted in the student newspaper, alumni newspaper and the Post, and tickets were sold at the business office.
In addition, Salisbury Transit had a bus on campus and an information table to promote the service.
City representatives met with college staff May 13 to review the ridership totals during the trial period.
The idea surfaced a couple of years ago as a class project to identify ways to improve public transportation and accessibility and increase ridership among students.
Kluttz did not rule out revisiting a college route in the future. Councilman Bill Burgin noted the city has identified other areas in the city with a higher demand for bus service.