New bus routes are here

Volunteer DJ Murphy helps passenger James Myers at the Clark Campbell Transportation Center figure out how to get to work as new bus routes went into effect this week.

New bus routes are here
January 05
05:45 2017

Photo by Todd Luck



The biggest overhaul of bus routes in Winston-Salem Transit Authority history began on Monday, Jan. 2.

While the rest of the city took a holiday, WSTA drivers and staff were working overtime on the first day of the new routes. There are 30 newly drawn bus routes with more than 1,000 bus stops. The routes have been redesigned to cut down on ride time and include new crosstown routes. It’s the biggest overhaul of routes in the history of the city’s bus service.

WSTA Director Art Barnes said the first day went smoothly for bus drivers, as only one bus was late on Monday.

“We’re very pleased for the first day,” said Barnes.

Barnes said Monday that there were glitches with the NextBus system, which lets passengers find routes and bus stops online or by phone, that prevented some routes from coming up. He expected those issues to be fixed promptly.

New green bus stop signs are now at all the current stops. The signs include route numbers and a stop number that can be entered into NextBus, along with the info on how to access the service by phone call, text or Internet.

Some old bus stop signs are still up. Barnes said that if there’s an old sign on a new route, the bus will pick up at it for at least another week as passengers get used to the new stops.

He said that when a change like this happens, ridership usually drops, and then, after an adjustment period, ridership is expected to be higher than what it was under the old routes.

Barnes said WSTA shuttled some passengers to work on Monday who couldn’t figure out what bus to take and were going to be late.

The Clark Campbell Transportation Center’s information windows had steady lines early in the week. So did a special table filled with staff and a volunteer who answered passenger questions on the new routes. Diannah Allison actually rode the bus on Tuesday, unaware of the new routes since the bus stop and route from her home hadn’t changed. After she got to the bus station, it took a couple inquiries and a little confusion to figure out what bus would take her to work.

Charlotte Scales rode the new routes starting on Monday and said she was “slowly but surely” adjusting to the change on Tuesday. She attended the meetings WSTA held on the new routes so she was prepared for the change, but didn’t think it was one for the better because many were having to walk further to get to their bus stop.

James Myers said he also didn’t like the change because he had to walk further to his stop. It took him more than an hour to figure out what bus to take to work on Tuesday and he was unsure how he’d get home since he said the new routes didn’t go by where he lives.

Rider Felicia Davis said she liked the new routes. She’s used to connectors in New York City that let her transfer easily from bus to bus. She’s glad they were being adopted locally so she’d no longer have to ride to the Transportation Center to transfer.

“It’s about time we got it here in Winston-Salem,” said Davis.

Barnes said that bus riders can give feedback to their drivers or directly to the WSTA via its website on adjustments they’d like to see in the routes. Bus drivers will be filling out feedback surveys on the routes. All the suggestions will be compiled and adjustments to the routes will be made later in the year.

“We welcome their input because that’s the only way we can make the system as perfect as we possibly can,” said Barnes.

Barnes also said that the persistent rumors that the WSTA plans to close the Clark Campbell Transportation Center at some point are completely false. While riders no longer have to transfer at the Transportation Center, it remains a major hub in the new system with 11 routes listing it as a destination. There are plans to make Union Station into a bus terminal that’ll work in addition to the Transportation Center, but will not replace it. The city’s long term plans for Union Station is for it to once again have passenger rail service.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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