Good news for the Triangle’s traffic-weary: GoTriangle an attractive option for car-owning commuters

Research Triangle Park, NC (April 17, 2017) – When it comes to getting cars off the Triangle’s congested roads, GoTriangle is highly excelling.

More than 68 percent of GoTriangle’s riders have cars they could be driving but choose instead to save money and promote sustainability by taking buses. Across all of the nation’s transit systems, only 32 percent of riders have vehicles they could be using instead, according to the American Passenger Transportation Association report “Who Rides Public Transportation?” 

“The significant number of people choosing to leave their cars behind as our region continues to grow highlights how important it is that we continue to add options and expand service,” said Jeff Mann, general manager of GoTriangle. “Fortunately, Durham, Orange and now Wake voters have recognized the need and approved transit plans.” 

In fall of 2016, CJI Research Corporation surveyed GoTriangle riders about themselves, their transit habits and their satisfaction with the service they receive. 

What CJI found in the 2,900 responses it analyzed is that GoTriangle’s buses carry a diverse group of people who like the hours and the frequency of the service and who are likely to be riding with passes subsidized by their environmentally and amenity-conscious employers.

About 27 percent of GoTriangle riders reported having household incomes of more than $75,000, up from 19 percent of riders in 2013, and 33 percent reported incomes below $25,000. A total of 57 percent have household incomes of less than $50,000. For perspective, median household income in Durham County in 2015 was $54,160 and in Wake County $67,300. The majority of riders are young, with 52 percent under age 34; 14 percent are older than age 55.

Two-thirds of riders rate their experience as excellent or very good. The percentage of riders who rated the hours the buses run as excellent jumped 18 points over three years: from 21 percent in 2013 to 39 percent. On frequency of service, 31 percent gave an excellent rating, up from 23 percent in 2013. GoTriangle was able to expand several routes with money available through the Durham and Orange county transit plans.

The vast majority of GoTriangle riders are heading to jobs and educational opportunities, with about 70 percent traveling to work, up from 63 percent in 2013, and about 15 percent riding to school, including about 2 percent riding to middle schools or high schools.

Transit has become an important economic engine in the region. Because GoTriangle has formed partnerships with universities and many major employers that subsidize transit passes for their employees or students, 53 percent of riders are using GoPasses to ride. Only 16 percent use cash.

About 40 percent of the riders surveyed last fall had been using GoTriangle services for less than a year, nearly the same percentage as those surveyed in 2013 and in 2009, showing that GoTriangle is continually attracting new riders, CJI reported. Nearly a quarter of 2016 riders had been using GoTriangle, formerly the Triangle Transit Authority, four years or more, up from 16 percent of riders in 2009. 

Providing transit services that car-owning residents will choose has never been more important. The greater Raleigh area is projected to grow by 50 percent between 2010 and 2030, according to a report by the Urban Institute. 

Currently, GoTriangle operates seven days a week with 73 buses, 14 regional routes, 12 weekday express routes and four shuttle routes. The paratransit program has 14 vehicles, and 83 vehicles are available for GoTriangle vanpools.

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