BURLINGTON, N.C. -- Lee Cassidy remembers when walking wasn’t an option, it was his primary way of getting around Burlington.
“If you didn't have a car, you were in trouble, you really weren't going to be able to get around nowhere,” he said.
He is one of the thousands of people who started using Burlington’s first city-operated public transportation system – Link Transit.
“The bus link is really nice to have, it helps a lot of people that aren’t able to afford cars. It’s really great,” Cassidy said.
Rider Jennifer Schnegg doesn’t have a car, and says the bus system has given her a sense of independence now that she doesn’t have to ask people for rides.
“I can get out -- a sense of freedom, so I take it out a lot,” she said.
On Tuesday, Link Transit celebrated its one-year anniversary with approximately 81,000 riders in the first year.
For city leaders, the focus now is finding ways to improve the service.
“The highest request that we’ve gotten from folks are simply to add additional hours in the evening. Folks may be able to commute to work in the morning on the system, but it doesn’t go late enough for them to get home,” Burlington Mayor Ian Baltutis said.
Many riders have also expressed a desire for weekend service.
Right now, Link Transit only runs Monday through Friday 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
“There is a cost to that, so it’s something we want to look at cautiously to make sure we’re making a wise investment which would give us the most ridership,” said Mike Nunn, director of transportation for the City of Burlington.
Link Transit fare is usually a dollar, but in honor of its first-year anniversary, fares are free through June 9.
Link Transit has five routes providing service to Burlington, Gibsonville and Alamance Community College.