The fate of Sunday bus service in the city depends on its popularity with its potential riders, Art Barnes, the general manager of the Winston-Salem Transit Authority, said Wednesday.
“If the service carries a lot of people, then it will be maintained and its routes may be increased,” Barnes said. “If the service doesn’t carry enough people, then it might be cut back or eliminated.”
Barnes discussed the Sunday bus service at a public-information meeting with 15 city residents at the Campbell Transportation Center on West Fifth Street. Another group of 15 residents attended a similar meeting Tuesday at the Forsyth County Public Library on Fifth Street.
Sunday bus service will begin Nov. 3 with WSTA buses traveling seven routes throughout most sections of the city. The routes will start at the Campbell Transportation Center and will carry passengers the city’s two hospitals as well as shopping centers, businesses and neighborhoods in the city’s eastern, northeastern, southeastern, southern, southwestern, northern and northwestern sections.
The city will not provide Sunday bus service to the western Winston-Salem because there is no public demand for it there, said Tina Carson-Wilkins, a WSTA spokeswoman.
The Sunday bus service will cost $425,000 a year, and that money was included in the city’s $379 million budget for fiscal year 2013-14.
The fare will be $1 for each passenger, and buses will run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Barnes said.
Barnes didn’t provide an estimate of how many passengers might ride the Sunday buses.
WSTA carries about 10,000 passengers each day on its current bus routes, according to its website.
Linda Hogan of Winston-Salem asked Barnes about the route numbers of the Sunday buses. Barnes replied that the buses will have route numbers that begin with “7,” indicating that the buses are running on Sundays.
The remaining one or two digits indicate its route, Barnes said. For example, Route 720 is the bus that will take passengers to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and Forsyth Medical Center. Route 20 is the daily bus route to those locations.
City resident Jerome Davis asked Barnes if Sunday bus service would expand to include more routes. Barnes said that if the public wants more Sunday bus routes, then the Winston-Salem City Council could consider allocating more money to pay for them.
“It costs money to run this service,” Barnes said. “If we run more routes and provide more service, it will cost more money.”