By Madison V. Fisler
Nov. 5, 2012. The AppalCART, Boone’s free public transportation system, reported a system-wide record-setting ridership of 212,874 passengers for October, representing a 9.8 percent increase over October last year.
The increase in ridership comes as a result of AppalCART adding two additional routes, an extra Purple route and the new Silver route.
“The second Purple route was added to relieve the overcrowding on the purple route,” said Christopher Turner, AppalCART’s Transportation Director.
The Silver route was added to release overcrowding on the POP 105 route and to serve areas northbound on N.C. 105.
“The POP 105 route became hard to keep on schedule. It was really crowded since it served not only Appalachian but Caldwell Community College too,” said Turner.
The new Silver route will be seeing even more use in the coming years as new apartments continue to spring up on Old High School Drive.
More people are using the AppalCART to get around since fuel prices have gotten so high, and more and more people opt to use public transportation instead of filling up their cars, said Turner.
The AppalCART system is growing each year. The first year in operation, the AppalCART only saw 286,000 passengers for the entire year. That number can now be matched in a month.
AppalCART also boasts 1,381 door-to-door service trips and 995 trips made for people with disabilities.
The new AppalCART facility on N.C. 105 is still under construction more than three years after construction began in the summer of 2009. Currently, AppalCART is operating out of their old facility on Winkler Creek Road.
“The new building is almost complete,” said Turner. “We do not yet have a projected date for when it will be open.”
For more information about AppalCART and the available routes, visit their website at www.appalcart.com.