New program provides free train-bus transfers

Published 12:05 am Monday, February 27, 2017

By Josh Bergeron

SALISBURY  — An Amtrak trip to Salisbury will come with a free bus ticket starting in March.

Train tickets on March 1 will come with a free transfer to local transit in several North Carolina cities, including Salisbury, said city spokeswoman Linda McElroy. The free transfer will occur at bus stops on Depot Street, roughly a block from the train station. Salisbury Transit Manager Rodney Harrison spoke with the Salisbury City Council last week about the transfer program, which received unanimous approval.

“If the train arrives, they’ll have a free ticket they’ll get when they board the Amtrak, will literally cross the street and board our buses free of charge with that transfer,” Harrison told the City Council. “If that first bus does not get them to their final destination, they can transfer free to get to their final destination.”

The intention, Harrison said, is that travelers aren’t stuck at the train station without a way to travel further into the city.

Prompted by a question from Councilman Brian Miller, Harrison said the transfers wouldn’t create additional costs for the city of Salisbury. Harrison said the city would receive a reimbursement for transfers from Amtrak.

A regular bus ticket is $1. The city offers reduced rates for senior citizens and people with disabilities.

Harrison said passengers could also transfer from Amtrak to Rowan County’s transit service. Other participants in the free transfer program will include: Go Raleigh, Go Cary, Go Durham, Go Triangle, Greensboro Transit Authority, High Point Transit System, Concord-Kannapolis Area Transit (CK Rider), Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) and Higher Education Area Transit, McElroy said.

The start date — March 1 — could be delayed depending on when all agreements are signed, Harrison told Salisbury City Council.

Salisbury Transit’s ridership for the first six months of fiscal year 2017 — July to December — was 87,766. As more people learn about the program, McElroy said it’s possible that the number of average riders of Salisbury’s transit service could increase.

The city has three bus routes, all of which stop at the city’s transfer station on Depot Street. Route Three, also known as the Blue Route, travels into East Spencer and Spencer.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.