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Zoo City Loop gets $440,000 grant

ASHEBORO — A proposed city bus route called the Zoo City Loop has been awarded a Carbon Reduction Plan grant of $440,000.


The news was presented to the Asheboro City Council by Mark Hensley, executive director of the Randolph Senior Adults Association, and Tawanna Williams, the association’s transportation director.


Hensley said the grant would need a match from the city of $233,333, which would launch the bus route. The grant would allow the purchase of four light-transit electric vehicles and two charging stations. There would be two gas-powered vehicles held in reserve.


Williams told the council that the Zoo City Loop would have 20 stops that would include large apartment complexes in North Asheboro, several senior apartments, the Asheboro Farmer’s Market, Memorial Park, the Asheboro Recreation Center, Randolph Health, Northgate Commons, Asheboro Mall, the Randolph-Asheboro YMCA, Walmart, Randolph Community College and the PART park-and-ride lots.


With two buses running simultaneously in opposite directions, there would be eight loops per day, Monday-Friday, from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.


The transit program will be operated by RCATS (Regional Coordinated Area Transportation System) under the direction of the Senior Adults Association.


Williams said, “Our goal is to begin a pilot of the loop in the spring of 2024.” She said the council will need to decide on rider fares, indicating that transit programs at nearby cities run from free rides to charges of up to $3. The council will also choose between two suggested logos.


“We anticipate good ridership,” Williams said. “We’re working with Randolph Community College” to provide rides for students. 


Hensley added that “marketing is important, to let the public know” of the service.