Research Triangle Park, NC (Aug. 1, 2018) – Come Monday, GoTriangle will expand the number of weekday trips offered on its popular express route between Raleigh and Durham from 24 to 34, a 41 percent increase in service that has regular DRX rider Bob Spaziano stoked.
“It will mean an easier or more convenient ride home and give me more options to connect with other routes,” says Spaziano, who lives in East Raleigh and commutes to his job in information technology at Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham. “The DRX lines, at least to Duke and the VA Medical Center, are pretty much at capacity. I think I’ve ridden the bus over the past year maybe three times when it was less than 50 percent full. I try to track it.”
Expanding the DRX and making the CRX between Chapel Hill and Raleigh more efficient are just two improvements that GoTriangle is introducing in the fiscal year that began July 1. Starting Sunday, GoTriangle also will expand its Sunday hours so that the last trips on all routes arrive and depart the Regional Transit Center at 8:30 p.m. instead of 6:30 p.m. The agency also will add Sunday-level service to Memorial Day and July Fourth for the first time in 2019. Find details here.
Voters in Wake, Durham and Orange counties all have approved half-cent sales taxes devoted to transit improvements, and each county has a transit plan that works with the others to create a strong, unified regional transit network over the next decade. Each year, local transit agencies will roll out pieces of the next phase of improvements that will provide alternatives to driving on increasingly congested roads as the Triangle grows by 80 people a day.
Spaziano, a Raleigh resident since 1975, can attest to that growth and its effects on the area’s roadways. When he got his job at Duke in February 2017, he was thrilled to discover he could leave the driving on Interstate 40 to the operators of the DRX. When he also found that Duke is one of several Triangle employers that offer the GoPass free or at a discount, taking transit became a no-brainer. The GoPass is good on any GoRaleigh, GoCary, GoTriangle or GoDurham route.
“And with my needing to travel 50 or 60 miles a day, I fill up my gas tank only every month or five weeks instead of every week by taking the bus,” says Spaziano, who pays $25 a year for his GoPass.
When Spaziano catches the DRX at least four times a week, he uses GoTriangle’s park-and-ride lot at Carter Finley Stadium off Wade Avenue in Raleigh. What makes taking transit especially appealing is that public buses can bypass I-40 congestion using the state-approved Bus on Shoulder System. And all buses are equipped with Wi-Fi to make working while commuting easy.
“When I take GoTriangle, it takes about an hour door to door, and the whole time I’m riding, I have my laptop open, and I’m getting work done,” Spaziano says. “Today is the first day I’ve driven to work in Durham since before July 4, and it took 80 minutes. I had to drop off a child, but transit is typically significantly faster on a work day.”
In fiscal year 2016, the DRX averaged 438 boardings a day. By fiscal year 2018, that number had increased to 470. To accommodate the growing ridership, GoTriangle’s 2019 budget calls for adding three trips from Raleigh to Durham and two trips from Durham to Raleigh in the morning and three trips from Durham to Raleigh and two trips from Raleigh to Durham in the evening. Those are the improvements that start Monday.
Also beginning Monday, GoTriangle will alter the schedule for the CRX between Chapel Hill and Raleigh to make the route more efficient. Find details here.
“I’ve taken my kid on the DRX, and he’s 3,” says Spaziano, who wants more people to understand the benefits of public transit. “GoRaleigh, GoDurham stations are completely safe and clean. Transit really is all about convenience and cost and our quality of life.”