North Carolina still studying Asheville-Salisbury bus to train

December 1, 2015

ASHEVILLE — State government is still studying whether to establish bus service between Asheville and the passenger rail station in Salisbury and is considering trying to lure a sponsor to help fund the route.

A new statewide rail plan adopted by the state Board of Transportation in August calls for the service to begin in 2018 as a way to connect more people to Amtrak trains that run through Salisbury and build ridership for possible passenger rail service.Website Insert Call Me State DOTs copy

It would allow local residents and visitors to take advantage of increased rail service the state Department of Transportation plans after an extensive project to improve tracks between Charlotte and Raleigh.

Paul Worley, head of the DOT’s Rail Division, said an obstacle to starting the service is a predictable one: money.

If a study suggests the bus would draw at least a reasonable number of riders, the DOT would initiate talks with communities on the route to get support for the project, possibly including some funding, Worley said. The department also might enlist a tourism-oriented business or other sponsor to contribute in return for advertising and publicity benefits, he said.

People would like to travel to Asheville by train and the bus would facilitate trips by people in Asheville and other communities on the route to the North Carolina Piedmont or, perhaps more likely, the Northeast, Worley said.

“Asheville is such a well-requested destination,” he said.

David Brown, a musician who lives in Barnardsville, said he would love to see it happen, although he would ultimately prefer a rail connection.

Read the full story from reporter Mark Barrett in the Citizen-Times by clicking here.

 

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