Other cities offer free bus service. Why not Greensboro?

Rhino Times editor John Hammer writes:

The Greensboro City Council is peculiarly susceptible to following through on ideas expressed by speakers at its monthly town hall-type meeting.

A new panhandling ordinance was the result of demands made by speakers from the floor. The new city mental health department was advocated by speakers from the floor, as was the new Cure Violence program.

A bus fare increase was nixed by the City Council after speakers complained about it.

Now speakers are advocating that all Greensboro Transit Agency (GTA) bus service, including the SCAT paratransit service, be provided free of charge. A speaker on Tuesday, Feb. 4 added a hook that has proven to be successful with the Greensboro City Council: Other cities do it, so why can’t Greensboro?

I’ve posted earlier about Kansas City’s free bus system in its effort to build up a culture of bus riding. Later I posted how–surprise—Raleigh and Charlotte’s McClatchy newspapers saw what KC was doing and immediately jumped on board.

According to the Rhino, the cost to the City of Greensboro to eliminate bus fares would be about $3.5 million if eliminating fares didn’t increase ridership— more if eliminating fares resulted in an increase in ridership. Newsflash to Kansas City and other cities: there is no “culture of bus riding.” It’s a way for people to get from point A to point B until they can get themselves a car and secure the freedom to drive.

Sam Hieb / Contributing Editor

Sam Hieb is freelance journalist from Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a contributing editor for Carolina Journal and for Piedmont Publius, a blog that focuses on political a...

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