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Asheville officials say changes could be coming for city's bus system

The Transit Master Plan will shape how and where transit service will be provided by Asheville Redefines Transit (ART) going forward. Officials say the public will have a chance to weigh in, with dates for public meetings to be announced later this week. (Photo: WLOS staff)

Asheville city officials announce changes could be coming for the bus system.

The Transit Master Plan will shape how and where transit service will be provided by Asheville Redefines Transit (ART) going forward. Officials say the public will have a chance to weigh in, with dates for public meetings to be announced later this week.

The meetings will begin in November. There will also be an online survey, and direct feedback through a rider questionnaire.

The city's transit planning manager says currently, the ART buses make about 2.1 million annual trips.

Expanding that coverage, and the frequency of bus service, are two of changes that are being considered.

Looking into linking up with Buncombe County's service is also on the table.

City transportation officials say Asheville's growing population is a main reason for changes being needed now.

""The system has been impacted by asheville's growth in recent years and that's certainly impacted on-time performance and reliability of service. Those are certain areas that we'd like to address with this new update," said Elias Mathes, Asheville Transit Planning Manager.

Mathes says it has been seven years since the transit master plan was adopted and this will be the first significant change to it since that time. They hope to come away with both short and long-term objectives for the plan, that could be implemented over years to come.

The plan is expected to be completed by summer 2018.

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