Proposed Chapel Hill Transit Changes

It's budget season, and here in Chapel Hill the impacts of decreased revenue and increased costs are being felt- especially in Transit. In the Manager's recommended budget, the Transit Fund will receive a 1.5% increase, but due to increased costs for administration and vehicle maintenance, Chapel Hill Transit is proposing the following service cuts:

Weekday Fixed Route Service

  • A Route: Discontinue 5:38 p.m. trip from Piney Mountain Road at Timber Hollow and 5:58 p.m. trip from N Columbia Street and Rosemary Street to Weiner Street and Severin Street; discontinue 6:13 p.m. and 7:13 p.m. trips from Weiner Street and Severin Street. Discontinue service between Dixie Lane and Piney Mountain Road neighborhood. Alternative routes include: N, NS, and T. 
  • CCX Route: Discontinue CCX Limited trips (departing CCX lot at 6:20, 6:50, 7:20, 7:50, and 8:20 a.m.; departing UNC Hospitals at 3:32, 4:02, 4:32, 5:02, and 5:32 p.m.) and reverse the loop around UNC Campus in the afternoon serving the Hospital area last before returning to the lot. 
  • CPX Route: Discontinue 5:45 a.m. trip from Carrboro Plaza Park-and-Ride and 6:01 a.m. trip from Pittsboro Street and State Employees Credit Union. Begin service at 6:15 a.m. at Carrboro Plaza Park-and-Ride. Alternative route: JFX. 
  • CW Route: Discontinue 6:20 a.m. round trip from Jones Ferry Park-and-Ride and 6:53 a.m. trip from N Columbia Street and Rosemary Street. Begin service at 7:20 a.m. at Jones Ferry Park-and-Ride. Alternative route: CM. 
  • DX Route: Discontinue 6:30 a.m. round trip; begin service at 7:10 a.m. at Old Durham Road and Scarlett Drive. Discontinue 3:50 p.m. trip from S Columbia Street and Fraternity Court and 4:15 p.m. trip from Old Durham Road and Scarlett Drive to Downtown; begin service at 4:35 p.m. at S Columbia Street and Fraternity Court. End service at 6:48 p.m. at Sage Road and Dobbins. Alternative routes include: CL and D. 
  • F Route: Discontinue 6:20 a.m. trip from McDougle School and 6:50 a.m. trip from Fountain Ridge Road and Colony Woods Drive; begin Service at 6:55 a.m. at McDougle School. Adjust afternoon frequency to 60 minute service after 3:15 p.m. Alternative route: D. 
  • FCX Route: Discontinue 9:40 a.m. and 9:50 a.m. trips from Friday Center Park-and-Ride and 9:53 and 10:03 a.m. trips from UNC Hospitals. Alternative routes include: HU, S, and V. 
  • G Route: Adjust frequency to 60 minute service from approximately 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Discontinue service between Glen Lennox and Briarcliff. 
  • HS Route: Discontinue mid-day route service (9:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 1:45 p.m. trips). Begin afternoon service at 2:45 p.m. at Morris Grove Elementary. 
  • HU Route: Discontinue 7:50 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. trips from Hedrick Building. Discontinue 5:35 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. trips from Hedrick Building and 5:55 p.m. and 6:35 p.m. trips from UNC Hospital. Alternative routes include: FCX, S, and V. 
  • J Route: Discontinue 12 a.m. round trip; end service at 11:56 p.m. 
  • NS Route: Discontinue 6:10 p.m. trip from Eubanks Road Park-and-Ride and 6:35 p.m. trip from Southern Village Park-and-Ride. 
  • RU Route: Discontinue 6:30 a.m. round trip; begin service at 7 a.m. at Family Medicine Center. Alternative routes include: CM and N. 
  • T Route: Discontinue 6:15 a.m. trip and begin service at 6:50 a.m. at East Chapel Hill High School; discontinue 6:49 a.m. trip and begin service at Manning Drive at UNC Hospitals at 7:24 a.m. Discontinue 6:15 p.m. trip from East Chapel Hill High School and 6:49 p.m. trip from UNC Hospitals. Alternative route: NS. 
  • V Route: Discontinue 6:20 p.m., 8:10 p.m., and 9:30 p.m. trips from Southern Village Park-and-Ride. Discontinue 7:01 p.m. trip from W Barbee Chapel Road at Harris Teeter. End service at 8:06 p.m. Alternative routes include: FCX, HU, and V.

Saturday Fixed Route Service

  • CW Saturday Route: Discontinue 5:20 p.m. trip from Jones Ferry Park-and-Ride. '
  • D Saturday Route: Begin service at Europa Drive at Duck Pond at 9 a.m. 
  • FG Saturday Route: Begin service at Colony Woods at 8:50 a.m.; end PM service at Colony Woods at 4:55 p.m. 
  • JN Saturday Route: Begin service at Rock Haven Road and Rock Creek at 9:40 a.m.

EZ Rider Paratransit Service

CHT is proposing to adjust the EZ Rider service area to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandated three-quarters of a mile beyond operating fixed routes for all eligible customers.

  • Reduce Weekday EZ Rider service to within 3/4 mile of Weekday fixed routes 
  • Reduce Saturday EZ Rider service to within 3/4 mile of Saturday fixed routes 
  • Reduce Sunday EZ Rider service to within 3/4 mile of U/NU routes (Sunday fixed routes) and implement a voucher program for ADA eligible customers.


I am surprised there hasn't been more coverage about theses changes, especially since the plan recommends eliminating service to the Estes Hills/Piney Mountain and Briarcliff neighborhoods. Also, the EZ Rider changes will more than likely have a negative impact on those with disabilities. If the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization- endorsed 1/2 cent sales tax referendum for increased bus (and eventual rail) service is passed, these cuts may be temporary. Either way, people will be negatively affected by service reductions in the interim.

There are several public input sessions scheduled about the proposed CHT changes; the first session is June 1st at 6PM at Town Hall. What do you all think of the changes?




I attended the meeting on April 20th to discuss the early draft of proposed bus changes, and it was disappointing to see very few people there. One of the staff mentioned that they had looked at ridership numbers during the spring and summer time period, and woman wisely pointed out that ridership may be down during that period because people may choose to walk when it's warmer. I ride the A bus, and often take one of the later routes that are proposed to be cut, but it's easy enough for me to take the NS and get exercise. I'm more concerned about the proposed cuts to entire neighborhoods.  

The first time I was in the Chapel Hill News was back around 1980 when CH was annexing the North Forest Hills neighborhood.  The kids (I would have been 10) led a petition drive which we sent to Town Council to get the bus service to go through that neighborhood.  I've always been able to say I'm the reason the "A" bus goes down Cynthia Drive, but I guess no more....  Full disclosure - we sold the petition by stating we wanted to be able to ride the bus to the library, but we definitely used it more to go to the Pump House.

It's sad for me too. We're moving into the neighborhood in a couple of months, and one of the reasons we chose the property we did was because of its proximity to transit. I guess I'll have to walk/bike down to MLK now.

Please don't bike down MLK.  It's not safe.  If you're going to bike then bike on the sidewalk.  They're mostly unused so you won't be bothering pedestrians on them.

I'm one of those who catch the bus on Cynthia. Thank, James. I also frequently ride my bike to campus - yes, on the sidewalks, right past those signs saying no bikes on sidewalks. If the sidewalks were busy with walkers, I'd probably ride the bus more rather than attempt MLK on a bike at rush hour. I'm very concerned about the elimination of the North Forest Hills portion of the A Route. It will be about a 20 minute walk to a bus stop on MLK from my home on Summerlin Dr. I already have to do that if I stay out after 7:30. At the last round of meetings in April, I suggested bringing a bus route along Piney Mt. Rd. to catch folks in that area. Perhaps the T Route or G Route, which currently double back on themselves, could be sent or returned along Piney Mt.Maps of the proposed changes are not included in any of the current
meeting announcements, but can be found here: There is no good signage on the buses about the upcoming meetings....certainly no clear message that "this bus service will be eliminated." The bus drivers do not seem to be aware either. I sent an email to the neighborhood listserv this morning and I'm posting the meeting notice at all the neighborhood bus stops when the weather clears. Any other ideas for turning out public comment would be appreciated. 

Just as I'd begun to notice an uptick in ridership on G and A routes, this?  And yes, there's been almost no notice and certainly no effort to collect comment until now.All you have to do is look at the rush-hour density on MLK and Estes to begin to wonder what "they" are thinking.  I've always thought the absence of any service on Estes between Franklin and Clayton was puzzling, esp. given the location of the library - and have written as much the the transit people (obviously, to no effect).  But now, they seem to think less is even more.   As with so many other public utilities/services, the logical conclusion must be that if you cut out enough services, people will stop trying to use them, and then you'll save buckets of money by eliminating them altogether.But out of curiosity, what do you think would happen if they reinstated some sort of fare or travel-pass plan? 

In the Council's budget session on Transit (and only Transit) earlier this month, director Steve Spade's estimate is that it would cost the system About $1.2 million to retrofit the almost 100 buses to take fares. The more-than-double ridership from the 2002 ridership (first year of fare-free buses) has resulted in a proportionate increase in Federal and state funding. So going back to fares would cost the system several million dollars. The only other public transit system serving Chapel Hill, Triangle Transit, gets 12 percent of its revenue from fares. All the rest is from other sources, including major pass arrangements with UNC (and other universities elsewhere). This was in answer to a question at a TTA board meeting (where I represent CH). On CHT's proposed service changes: staff should be providing draft schedules for the public hearings. i've also asked that they provide maps to show changes in the routes.  Hope that provides an answer to your question.  Ed Harrison

Alert to all the people that are always preaching we should be as local as possible.  The first paragraph in the previous post says that not only do we get state and federal funding for our buses but it's been proportionately increasing.  Almost all of that state and federal funding is non-local.  That is bad, right?  Let's hear it.

Our federal taxes leave the community. The lion's share of it goes to military spending. Sometimes a little of the money returns back to us. It's our money and it's all local. 

Follow the money indeed.  The state of NC takes tax money from people all over NC and sends it to the state colleges, especially UNC-Chapel Hill.  Then all the students, from NC and elsewhere, along with the money from their parents or lenders or whoever, come to UNC and spend it not only on school but on other living-type stuff in this area as well.  And there are all manner of events at UNC that bring in money just because UNC is here.  And there are also all manner of businesses here that are here because it benefits them to be near UNC.  So if you follow the money the money is going to be flowing towards, not away from, a major university. And the same goes for the knowledge and the people.  Universities all over the world do research and generate knowledge and teach it to their students, who get PhDs and and then go to other universities to teach what they've learned while also doing research to generate more knowledge. And on top of that UNC gets a ton of federal funding, almost all of which comes from people not already in CH/C. And then after all that UNC educates people that go elsewhere and generate new knowledge and all that goes to other places.  The concept of a university in inherently non-local. The word "universe" is actually in the name!  If UNC weren't in CH/C then CH/C would be nothing more than a distant, primarily residential, suburb of RTP.  And yet universities, despite being almost entirely non-local, are beneficial to all of society.  Point being, whether something is beneficial depends on the effect is has, not on where it's located. If it were as simple as buying local being beneficial for that local area then when we found heretofore isolated communities in the jungle of New Guinea or wherever, they'd be the wealthiest communities on the planet. Instead they are invariably the poorest.  Wealth is created by human exchange, not by human isolation.  The entire planet is local.  The machine we're using right now couldn't exist without input from people all over the planet.  And that's a good thing.

that oxygen is not local.  What a revelation! Therefore if one thing is not local how can anything be truly local? Thankfully, the corporations from my local planet will provide me with everything I need.

Thanks, Ed - I'd overlooked the fed/NC aspect of funding, which is quite a significant thing to have overlooked.   Nonetheless, I wonder if that is something we can and should be counting on for the long haul.  Mass transit is a crucial aspect of dealing with so many of our environmental and planning concerns, yet it often seems painfully vulnerable to being derailed or even shut down by narrow-sightline thinking and tangential priorities.  

I ride the four routes that use S. Columbia:  V,NS,J, and D.  I'm happy withthe changes on those routes.  The ridership on the times that are eliminated is very low.I also agree with Ed, not to go back to fares.  

I rarely ride the bus but I hope that part of this calculus involves how heavily various routes are used because in the end, like it or not, everything everywhere boils down to cost/benefit.  My routine is such that as I'm walking I see buses on the south edge of campus on weeknights in the 7-9 pm range, on Mason Farm Rd and East Dr (or is it West Dr, I forget) and unless people are crouching down or the riders are small people whose heads don't stick up above the top of the seat, most of the time the buses are either completely empty or almost completely empty (except for the driver).  It would be good if someone somewhere was keeping track of ridership so more resources could be put towards routes in high demand at the expense of resources currently put towards routes in low demand.

Jose,I know that several years ago CHT did keep track of ridership numbers and every 6 months they would review the numbers.  My recollection is that they had some sort of formula such as: if a route dropped below a certain level  for two straight 6-month periods it would be discontinued.  I don't know if that was the exact way they did it but they did keep track of ridership and routes that weren't being well used were cut.  I would be surprised if they don't still do something like that.In terms of your observation of buses running fairly empty - sometimes that is a funcion of seeing the bus near the beginning or end of it's route when it is an inbound or outbound bus respectively.

I hope that folks will attend tonight's public session on the service changes at Town Hall, starting at 6 PM, and post here with impressions of it.  I've got a neighborhood meeting soon after that, and that takes priority for the household.  Will be especially interested to hear if the level of information provided is enough to understand the changes. I've asked for maps of the new routes, as proposed for change, and for schedules (with "time points" -- e.g. "E. Franklin St. at Varsity Theater") for the proposed routes.  Ed Harrison

Additional information on CHT's proposed service adjusments for August 2012 is available at or

As noted in these links, the proposed adjustments for FY12 are based on low ridership, alternative service availability, least impact to riders and available capacity on vehicles.

I attended the meeting and will offer some impressions - necessarily subjective, I admit, especially since I'm part of that section of town covered by both the G and A routes.  Two basic but important ones are (1) that it was very sparsely attended - fewer than 15-20 people there if that, but (2) that they were almost all there to protest changes to the G and A routes. (Ironically, the Transit publicity for the meetings specifies that the Town Council is served by both routes.)  There were at least 6 employees from Chapel Hill Transit, as well as Stephen Spade. Virtually all of the presentation time was spent demonstrating that there's a financial crisis, that they (believe they) have no alternative but to cut services as outlined, and that they arrived at their decisions based on current ridership statistics.  There was more time spent on justifying the changes rather than on explaining them, although they clearly intended that the group (had it been larger and concerned with more thajust the G and A routes) would break into route-specific or area-specific subgroups, to whom different transit employees could explain specific changes in more detail.  In truth, explanation of exactly what the changes would entail probably wasn't all that necessary, since those there had already scrutinized the announcement and knew how their neighborhoods (notably Briarcliff) would be affected.   The individual transit reps did bring paper maps of the existing routes as an aid to taking comments from people.A couple of interesting perspectives emerged via the interaction of various comments:The two routes (G and A) that are taking the biggest hit in the cut-backs are two that actually don't make much sense logistically. There are long stretches of both routes that aren't well used and other sections of them that are quite heavily used.  If you look at them on a map, they are truly tortuous, as if pieces were knotted into the route as an afterthought.   Although transit analysts were replete with numbers to prove ridership overall is well below ideal levels on these routes, not much thought seemed to have been given to why or whether the situation could be fixed by other than surgical removal of the offending route.  There were suggestions to split or redesign the routes with more rational consideration of who's going where.  (For example, my suggestion was that perhaps adding coverage to lower Estes and the Mall could complete a loop including MLK and Franklin or Rosemary, serving more people in more directions and - down the road - serving the library.   Granted, that doesn't help the Booker Creek neighborhoods, but as the G route now stands, no one who starts in Booker Creek is on the G bus to go to the Mall, its other-end terminus (or vice versa). A different route configuration seems called for, and similarly for the A route.)There were also questions/comments about other sources of revenue, but the only one that seemed at all promising, according to CHTransit, is that of paid advertising on the buses, which probably wouldn't generate enough to fend off all cuts, but might help somewhat. Forgive my inveterate cynicism, but I was ultimately left with the sense that this seems a done deal, like so many other occasions on which citizen input is invited but too late in the process and destined to be more or less filed away.  The changes become effective in August, which is way too soon to allow much realistic hope of modification.  Ultimately, the only informing "voice" heard in the planning process was that of ridership statistics, and it's hard to see how the popular voice coming this late in the process can have any effect.   Perhaps some can hope that they will rethink cutting G route frequency so drastically (to be reduced to once an hour - which may well be enough to kill ridership altogether) and that they will consider making minor modification in some of the other route cuts.  But anything other than perhaps restoring an occasional run or two would take too much time to plan by August.  The intention seems to be to present the changes as they now stand, unmodified, to the Manager and Council and say, "here it is -- you should know that people on G and A are screaming, but this is what we're stuck with." Respectfully submitted (with apologies to anyone there, including Transit officials, if this account is erroneous or incomplete, or if my impressions are wildly off-base.)

Thank you for the report, Priscilla. I wasn't able to attend tonight, but I plan to go to one of the sessions next week. I'm sad to hear that it sounded like a done deal, and hope that public outcry will persuade them to examine other options.

It seems to me that a huge contraindication is taking place.  Transit service, which is so important to our environment, is being scaled down AND Transit Oriented Development continues to be proposed and approved.  The rationale for TOD is that the density will support transit and enable the residents to get about easily without exponentially adding to traffic problems.  However, as both transit is cut and trees are cut for TOD developments, residents will have have to have their car or two (or 3) and the TOD design will end up having a negative impact on Chapel Hill.Until transit is funded, dense development creates more problems (redundant small shopping, condo/townhome/apt vacancies, tree loss, stormwater impact) than solutions.  Some will attempt to explain that we need a critical mass of people to obtain federal funding for transit, so we NEED the density for that purpose.  I would suggest that this is backwards logic-transit is a tool to help a town and its environment, and should not be the REASON that we approve density.   Del Snow

As I
said on our neighborhood blog (we of the G route), none of us are surprised
that we are on the chop block when it comes to rider statistics. We daily see
the empty buses and the empty bus stops. To those who do ride the G route,
however, the service is vital and those of us who always see empty buses may be
guilty of snapshot assumptions.Several
issues have come to the forefront of neighborhood discussion: (1) the promises
made for a free
ridership system, and (2) the needed change to a fare system (to be fair). :)We on
the G route, whether we use it or not, pay for that free system of transportation. We have
done it without too much complaint because the service was promised to all neighborhoods
and the supposed reduction in car use and traffic. If we don't have free
service why should we pay for someone else's free service?Others
feel like the service needs to stand on a fare system, with riders paying (by
pass or ticket) for their use. There's no problem with the system getting
grants or ad revenue but don't tax us non-users for users' rides. If the route
pays, it stays. If UNC or Carrboro wants to pay for their
faculty/students/citizens, God bless them.There's
no secret about the origins of this, budget crunch time for local governments.
Can we afford a bus system, expanded library, teacher assistants, (put your
favorite service here)? When the budget vote comes, the Town Council is going
to have to pray we're all asleep.

I actually agree with you to a point. When I went to VCU, they paid for cross-town service between campuses and we showed a Student ID. All other routes, we paid like everyone else. I love having free bus service, even though I have only used it twice in the 11 years I've been here (in spite of all the caterwalling, we have plenty of parking downtown). I don't honestly mind subsidizing Seniors getting to the Doctor, Students getting to class, people getting to work. However, I'd rather see us start paying for bus service than not have Teacher's Assistants, not have Senior Centers, etc.If your argument is paying for things you don't get to use, that falls flat with me. I don't sleep at Homeless Shelters, use Senior Centers or really get on the bus much, etc. That's a slippery slope for someone who often argues that we should pay for a lot services only a small portion of the population use. I know it stinks when something you care about gets taken away from you and it doesn't seem fair, but as we in Parkside have been reminded - often by you - Doing what's right for everyone sometimes may inconvenience a few folks and in this case cutting an unused route is completely correct.  

I don't support an Emergency Compenent to a Transitional Shelter (stupid to downright dangerous to the people it claims to help) doesn't mean I don't think we should have Shelters and Senior Centers or parks in places I don't live. I am not as selfish as some.

I don't have a problem cutting an unused route, but, our TC changed to a free bus system with the promise that it would be accessible to all (stops within a certain distance of all homes). Can't keep that promise? Fine, go back to a fare based system.I don't use the bus system. I've never been in a CH bus except the Tar Heel Express. I don't think it's an issue of fairness, I think that if all can't have free access to a service when that was promised requires that we return to a fare system where - as I said - if it pays, it stays.Well, where would that leave us? A transit system that would not make it?Love and greetings to all my friends in Parkside, sorry that something has been taken away, whatever that is. 

It's way too simple to look at ridership and say, woops, no riders, cut that route.  In the case of the G route, there are plenty of riders for some segments.  The problem is WHY are there no riders elsewhere: Iis it truly that there just isn't enough population to use it? Is it that the route doesn't run often enough at the times it's most needed?  Or is it that the route makes no sense for those who would use it because it doesn't go to and from the places they need it to go?   From where I live,  it would take 30-45 minutes through the campus to get to Univ. Mall by bus.  Or I can drive it in 5 min. or walk it in about 15-20.   More broadly, there IS a very basic issue of whether the bus system is there for students or for town residents.  One of the problems with using ridership figures and nothing else is that it vastly favors students.  A profile of use based solely on ridership stats emphasizes travel flow to, from, and within the campus far above anything else.  If you cut routes based on ridership, ultimately all you'd have is student-favored routes, and little for town residents. And you can't say it automatically helps UNC-employee-riders going between home and campus, because ridership figures swell BETWEEN rush hours.  Those riders are students following class schedules.  If you were looking solely at ridership figures, you'd be led to reduce or cut out the rush-hour service that benefits town residents commuting for work.

I agree with Del. Cutting routes is contradictory to the expressed goals of the town to become less dependent on single driver vehicles. It's also contradictory to the expressed goals of the university to build fewer parking lots/decks on campus. So instead of losing the gains we've made in convincing some people to rely on the bus system, why can't we use smaller buses for some routes/time slots and look for other creative ways to save on costs while also encouraging mass transit usage?

As I explained earlier to Dorothy Moore of Glen Lennox, an 80-year-old who uses the G Route to reach University Mall for groceries, using smaller buses saves almost no money because so much of the cost of transit operation is to pay the driver.  She communicated to me in the old-fashioned way, a phone call using the number my wife Pat had helpfully given her at the U Mall bus stop. Ms. Moore would be stranded by this proposal.  The change in the G Route does remove one bus route entirely from the largest single shopping center in the entire CHT service area. To me, that contradicts the Council's recent directions in documents such as the Ephesus Church Road/Fordham Boulevard Small Area Plan. An earlier version of changes to the F Route removed service from Ram's Plaza, Eastgate and Elliott Road, and put it on the edge of U Mall. (Also pulled service from several affordable apartment complexes). I managed to kill that idea, but it took two committee meetings to do it.  Ed Harrison

Again, I agree with Ed.  The best way to run a bus system is to have only one type of bus.  This eases maintenance, driving skills, replacement of buses and parts, etc.  It does mean that sometimes large buses are used on routes that could be handled by smaller buses.  This has been studied for many years, and the results are always that it is best to use the large buses.About the idea that the bus system is primarily for students:  CH Transit is a hub-and-spoke system that delivers people to the campus, hospitals, and downtown, and does it very well.  About 40,000 people commute to campus and the hospitals every day.  That figure includes 17.000 students of all types who live off-campus.  There are about 12,000 parking spaces on campus (incl the hospitals) available for commuters.  So we either run the bus system or we pave the campus and greatly increase the road capacity. There have been routes tried that are not hub-and-spoke.  Remember the route from Univ Mall to downtown Carrboro via Estes Drive?  There just weren't any riders.  The off-campus students do count.  They live in the town, pay taxes, and use services just like any other resident.I remember when then UNC Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance Nancy Suttenfield started making the major contribution to operating expenses about a decade ago.  She said that we (UNC) recognize that without the bus system, our employees can't get to work and UNC and UNCH cannot function. 

Joe, I don't recall ever hearing about an Estes Drive route, and I've often longed for one (for selfish reasons). When was that? (Trying to figure how I could have missed that. I joined the Town's Transportation Board 20 years ago and feel pretty tuned in to this kind of thing.)

The route was tried in 1998-99, and dropped after only a year because it was serving only 3 passengers an hour, about a tenth of CHT's then-existing average on its routes. It linked UMall with the Southern Human Services Center and CHHS. Capowski opposed launching it, T Board supported it.

The hub-and-spoke model works well but with some limitations.  First, the spokes have to be arranged and distributed reasonably for proper coverage of the area.  Second, the density of routes toward the hub eventually will become unmanageable without eventually creating transfer and branch points outside the innermost radius where routes converge.  Third, there has to be only one hub of municipal activity to justify a single hub-and-spoke design.Current cutbacks seem to target the north-south axes of Chapel Hill's system, suggesting coverage patterns will eventually collapse to an east-west ellipse.  Moreover If there are other "sub-hubs" of activity -- as there are in Chapel Hill, beyond the dominance of the UNC campus - the wheel model is less useful for our community.   One way to address both situations entails introducing some creativity about transfer points away from the downtown area and understanding our true travel patterns.Increased rush-hour congestion on Estes -- sometimes reaching far back from the MLK intersection -- tells us people are using it to navigate between their destinations.  The rather pointed example of a failed cross-town connector along Estes refers to an effectively bipolar route between two virtually unrelated "sub-hubs."  But what would have happened had it linked up efficiently with north-south service on MLK at a dedicated, useable transfer station?   In addition, and not incidentally, things are not the same today as they were a decade or more ago -- for one thing, gas then was $1.09 a gallon. Again, this level of planning comes too late for hope of informing changes scheduled for August, but it should not be discounted.  Meanwhile, if the extent of reduction of service on the A, G, and F can be reconsidered and  modified, that would be a Good Thing, something we CAN hope for, I hope.  

No one is saying that there should be no bus system or that it shouldn't serve the campus.  And the University does pay a large chunk of operation costs.  But by no means does it pay all of the costs. The point was that while students should indeed be served - and they most certainly are, given the system configuration and route timing - they should not be the only ridership group considered in planning, for fiscal and logistical reasons as well as town resident, voter, and taxpayer-mindedness (and it would be nice to include air quality on these hot summer days). It's all too clear that the mission of the Chapel Hill Transit is not to get residents out of their cars - it's apparently to enable the University to reduce parking pressure on and near campus.  But it's entirely fair for residents to ask whether that can or should be the sole and controlling mission.

Options are being examined. I posted earlier today to Transit, with copies to colleagues on Council, to other town staff, and to some businesspeople, concerning the reduction of service which cuts in the G and F Routes would have on access to University Mall. Total reduction in number of trips would be 68 percent, with 100 percent reduction on the G Route. I cited the case of Ms. Moore in Glen Lennox. Steve Spade asked me to call him, and he outlined some "scenarios" for route re-design that could deal with routes receiving the most concern. So, it's not "a done deal."    Ed Harrison

Thanks, Ed, for letting us know it's not all over. Back in April they were calling this a "proposal" but I haven't seen any changes between that proposal and the maps currently showing for August routes. In the last few days CH Transit has posted notices at the A route stops in North Forest Hills letting us know that we will lose service August 15, and announcing the meetings next week. I'm still hopeful that a creative solution will be found - perhaps looping the T route back down Piney Mt. Rd. or somehow connecting the G route and Piney Mt. Otherwise we are a 20 minute walk to the nearest bus. How can the bus riders best be heard? Will attending the meetings make a difference - or do we need to phone our Council? Is Pat still giving out your number?

The service changes were derived from a Comprehensive Operations Analysis done by a consulting firm. I know there have been changes since April, because I asked for some of the more bizarre recommendations to be taken out, as did Dan Coleman in terms of service to some key parts of Carrboro. Discussion of these changes is within the "Partners" group right now, not at the Council or Board of Aldermen. The transit is run by a partnership, policy and financial, between the towns and UNC. Council members can be contacted via the email addresses on the Town website. Along with others, I'd prefer not to be contacted by "Anonymous" when a name is obviously available.   Ed Harrison

While Chapel Hill Transit is proposing bus service cuts to Chapel Hill neighborhoods, they are also committing to spending Chapel Hill Transit funds to pay for bus service to Pittsboro. See pages 5-6 of the link below.

This article from the Herald-Sun indicates Chatham County is no longer willing to pay for the Pittsboro route.

Nothing against the good people of Pittsboro, but shouldn't we be making sure that we're minimizing or preventing cuts in our neighborhoods before offering to pay for services in Chatham that their elected officials recently decided to stop supporting?

I've seen that information too, and have been meaning to post about it. It does seem backward that CHT is willing to use the Transit Fund to pay for Pittsboro coverage but want to cut in-town service.  Also, there was another hit for transit last night: The county commissioners voted last night to not put the half-cent sales tax refererendum on the ballot this fall. They can always decide to pursue it in the future, but until they do, there will not be much growth in regional transit.

Just a reminder to everyone: the final public input sessions about the transit cuts are today from 11-1 in the Pit on campus, and from 6-7:30 at Chapel Hill Town Hall. I encourage you all to share your thoughts with CHT, either at the meetings or via email at Any feedback the Town receives by 8PM tonight will be entered as part of the public forum record.

Did it occur to anyone that cutting routes now will enable the CHT to add the routes back if the .5 cent sale tax is passed by the voters next year. If the sale tax is passed only new services will receive those funds not current routes already in place.


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