The Routes They Are A-Changin’

Chapel Hill Transit Bus via bizjournals.com

As I’ve mentioned before, I love public transit. It’s the best thing since sliced bread. And while it can be annoying from time-to-time, there’s no better way to get around an urban area.

Public transit is especially important for UNC students here in Chapel Hill. In 2015, over 50 percent of students reported they used Chapel Hill Transit buses to get to class. With such a large percentage of students depending on the buses, any change in service is a big deal.

Cue Chapel Hill Transit. The agency is currently planning to make adjustments over the summer to most of its routes. The proposed plan calls for the simplification of the system. This will be achieved via route cancelations and rerouting. The plan also increases service along high-traffic routes. So, you know, a big deal.

The plan has already gone through public comment periods starting in January. It’s currently being presented before the towns of Carrboro and Chapel Hill, along with the university. As of writing, the Carrboro Town Council had given its endorsement of the proposal. The Chapel Hill Town Council is currently considering the plan at its Wednesday night meeting

I’m lucky to live off the busy North-South corridor in town. I rarely have to wait more than fifteen minutes for a bus during the day. I can even get home late into the night after most of the system has shut down. The proposed plan would benefit me greatly because it increases services along my route. My only concern with the new plan is for the students who might have gotten housing along a route that has been changed or canceled. Otherwise, I personally think the new plan will help ease the congestion on the primary routes and focus on the areas using the bus system the most.

Now you may be asking, “Erik why should I care?” or, “Erik why are you writing about such an obscure topic?” or even, “Aren’t you graduating this summer and this won’t impact you at all?” Most of these are valid questions. So, I start from the bottom. Yes, I am graduating in May. I’m writing because I may have become an ad major junior year, but I still have the dregs of a city reporter in my veins. And you should care because all issues are local issues.

Living in Chapel Hill and away from my family has taught me many things. One is to be an informed member of the community. I’m lucky to have lived for the past four years in what has to be one of the most active local communities in the state. Yet, I know that’s not the case for most communities across the state and even the nation. I’ve learned so much living here about the issues facing growing urban, suburban, and rural areas. Somehow getting around easily seems to always be one of the biggest issues in a community. That’s why we should all care about what our communities are planning when it comes to something as basic as getting around town.