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Friday August 12th

Chapel Hill Transit to offer weekend bus service starting in August

<p>A Chapel Hill Transit bus stops outside Carolina Coffee Shop on Franklin Street on Feb. 7, 2020. The Civic Engagement Action Coalition of Transportation will launch a voting shuttle that will take students directly from South Campus to the early voting site on Feb. 27 and Feb. 28, 2020. The voting shuttle will run non-stop from 10 a.m to 6 p.m.</p>
Buy Photos The Town of Chapel Hill adopts a plan for the Chapel Hill Transit to offer full weekend bus service by August while also bringing high-frequency transit corridors to Chapel Hill, Carrboro and the University area.

The Carrboro Town Council recently approved the Chapel Hill Transit Short-Range Transit Plan, which allows Chapel Hill Transit to offer full weekend service by August. 

“The big headline for the Short-Range Transit Plan is seven-day-a-week bus service,” Carrboro Town Council member Damon Seils said. “Full weekend service is something the community has been asking for for many years and we’re finally able to make that happen.”

Brian Litchfield, director of Chapel Hill Transit, said the plan was adopted by the Town of Chapel Hill and endorsed by The Town of Carrboro and UNC. 

In addition to weekend service, Litchfield said the plan will bring high-frequency transit corridors and some other improvements to Chapel Hill, Carrboro and the University.

The Short-Range Transit Plan states that it will improve service frequencies in areas with high demand, including East Franklin Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Seils said the plan is nearly cost-neutral, and Litchfield said there will be no impact on transit operators or personnel.

Litchfield said over the next five months, Chapel Hill Transit will work to communicate these changes with as many customers and community members as possible.

At the Feb. 25 meeting where the plan was approved, Carrboro Town Council member Jacquelyn Gist voted against approving it. She said this was in protest against what she saw as a failure to address service issues on the J Route.

“The J bus line is the most heavily traveled bus route in North Carolina, and it is overused," she said. "It goes by, full, over and over again. People bring it up to me all the time — why can’t we get more service? Why do we have to wait so long? Why do other buses pass us, empty? And the Short-Range Plan is doing nothing to address that.”

Despite Gist’s opposition, the council approved the plan 6-1.

A Chapel Hill Transit report from October describes the full summary of changes, but Seils said a handful of additional changes approved for the final plan are not reflected in this document. 

“For example, the S Route will be modified rather than eliminated,” he said.

Here are the full changes:

  • The CPX, HU, V, FG, and JN routes will be eliminated. Other routes will be modified to cover the areas served by those routes or simplified to allow for higher frequency service.
  • The J and NS routes will begin running from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Altogether, Chapel Hill Transit will provide Saturday and Sunday service on Routes A, CM, CW, D, J, N, NS, NU and U.
  • Only the RU and U routes will remain unchanged.

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