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Cary starts fixed-route bus service

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Since last Friday, December 16th, Cary has been running their buses on some new fixed routes.

Read an article in the N&O here.

Seems that demand responsive service was getting too expensive and not carrying enough people. The routes that they've planned make sense, although they pretty much only serve the area inside the "horseshoe" shaped Cary Parkway. The town bought 5 new 22-foot buses (aka Short Buses) for 30-minute peak headways on the north/south and east/west routes plus 60 minute headways on the Maynard loop.

If you ask me, three fixed routes is a bit sorry for a town of 110,000 people, but hey, they have to start somewhere! We'll have to see how it goes.

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My daughter and I tried it out Saturday coming home from lunch. I called the dispatcher because I thought I'd missed the bus, but they were already down about half an hour because of congestion in Crossroads. Another person got on with us (at Maynard Crossing -- where High House and Maynard road cross) when the bus finally came.

The buses are quite nice. Once they get settled into steady service they should get good ridership (I'd say that 350 ridership estimate is quite low). There are a few glitches with how the schedules are set up (e.g. the Maynard Loop route doesn't connect very well with the TTA 301 route) but that will get ironed out after a bit. That Maynard route is perfect for where I live -- it's just a short walk down to the bus stop and it gets around town quite well.

Hopefully this will take off and they can extend it in a few years. Cary is supposed to run the feeder service for regional rail (if we ever build it *BIG SIGH*) so they really need this experience running "real" bus service.

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