Board tables bus shelter plan

Mar. 27, 2013 @ 12:36 PM

Davidson County commissioners challenged Thomasville officials Tuesday to pay a part of the cost for new bus stop shelters in the Chair City.
Commissioners tabled a plan to provide as many as 10 shelters along a circulating bus route in Thomasville. Grants would pay 80 percent of the $100,000 cost. Commissioners encouraged Thomasville City Council to pay a portion of the local costs for as many as 10 shelters.  Officials have so far discussed a Thomasville share of as much as $12,000.
“All these shelters would go to Thomasville so they should build them and own them,” said Chairman Fred McClure. “Thomasville should take as many shelters as they want, but they should own them.”
Transportation officials launched an expanded Thomasville fixed bus route March 4, adding more than 20 new stops throughout the city. The Thomasville fixed route serves about 160 people per day. 
In a letter to County Manager Robert Hyatt, Kelly Craver, Thomasville city manager, said the number of shelters installed would depend on funds available, site costs and bus ridership.
“It appears Thomasville may not want to play now,” said Commissioner Larry Potts.
Most of the money comes from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement grant. Lexington is part of a program to improve regional air quality.
“This program helps us to improve the air quality standards,” said Guy Cornman, county zoning director.
Commissioners also discussed the possibility of charging a fee for rides on the free fixed-route system. Medicaid is the main payer for county’s door-to-door service.  Charging a fare would require adding bus fare boxes.
“You could  look at $1 per ride,” Potts said.
Buses make one loop about every hour. The expansion includes more of the Unity Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive area with new stops on Cedar Lodge Road and Fisher Ferry Street. There are more stops at additional businesses and community buildings, including the shopping strip on Cedar Lodge Road.
A connector route started last year between Lexington and Thomasville has about 14,000 riders a year.

Bus Service
Riders: The service is free.
Service: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.