ASHEBORO — Randolph County Senior Adult Association has proposed a local bus route for Asheboro.
Executive Director Mark Hensley and Transportation Director Tawanna Williams presented the Zoo City Loop plan to the Asheboro City Council on Feb. 10.
The route, which would run from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, goes from Forest Ridge Apartments on the north to Randolph Community College on the south.
There are 20 stops on the route, 11 at large apartment complexes and nine at commercial/institutional locations.
There would be two vans running simultaneously, one going north and the other driving south. It’s estimated that one loop would take approximately one and a half hours to complete.
Hensley said the service would likely pick up riders up to a quarter-mile from the route if requested.
The bus route, as planned, would be free, he said, but the city would make the final determination.
If the transit route is successful, Hensley said, it could be expanded to longer hours and weekends.
It’s also possible that, with more vans, they could take passengers to the North Carolina Zoo or to the to-be-built Toyota battery plant near Liberty.
Hensley said the plan is to purchase two 12-passenger vans at a cost of $130,000 with salaries, benefits, fuel and maintenance, raising the first year’s total to $320,000. The second year’s cost is projected to be $190,000.
The transit program will be operated by RCATS (Regional Coordinated Area Transportation System) but the Zoo City Loop would be a separate service.
Hensley said there would be schedules posted with anticipated arrival times. Signs will also be placed at all stops.
“This is not an on-demand service (such as RCATS),” Hensley said. “It’s a regular service route.”
He added, however, that RCATS vans could be used if Zoo City Loop vehicles were out of service.
Asked when the route could begin service, Hensley said it would have to be part of the city’s 2022-23 budget before the new vans could be purchased.
That would push back startup until the second half of 2022.
City Manager John Ogburn said the city would be checking to see if the federal infrastructure bill could offer financial assistance for the route.
Mayor David Smith called the Zoo City Loop “a big item for quality of life in Asheboro.”
1. RCATS HUB — 347 West Salisbury Street / Church Street Lofts
2. Downtown Farmer’s Market / The Loft — Downtown businesses
3. Housing Authority / Wainman Apartments
4. Memorial Park (Park Place and other apartments)
5. Caspen Homes
6. The Summit
8. Recreation Center
10. Arlington Square
11. Forest Ridge Apartments
12. Summer’s Run
13. PART / Park and ride
14. Northgate Commons
15. Farr Street Apartments
16. Coleridge Apartments
17. Randolph Mall (main entrance)
20. RCC / Building B
Routes would take about 90 minutes to complete. For now, the plan is 8 a day each way — 8 going southbound, 8 northbound, beginning at these times, Monday-Friday:
Morning route start times — 7 a.m., 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Midday route start times — 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Evening route start times — 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.