The Unsolicited Endorsement: The PART bus (in theory)

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_D5C5045brianby Brian Clarey

One might think that for me to endorse the Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation’s bus between Greensboro and Winston-Salem I would have actually, at some point, boarded one of these buses and taken the ride.

One would be wrong.

No, I have never ridden the PART bus, but it matters not, for reasons I will explain.

The reason I have never taken the PART bus is that, frankly, I don’t got time for that. My job doesn’t allow for fixed departure times, and I often need to go well beyond the downtown depots in my travels.

That’s not to say I wouldn’t take a PART bus. I totally would. And I would even consider taking one to the airport, an unbelievable bargain at $2.40 each way — if I couldn’t get a ride, that is.

But I’m not the kind of customer PART needs. It needs people who live in one city and work in a downtown district in the other, who can ride the bus two, three, maybe even four times a week, maybe 1,000 of them. That would perhaps cover the expense of expanding the lines past 6:30 p.m., so people could stay after work for dinner and catch the late bus home, or take an evening bus across for the theater or a show.

If enough people around here become comfortable taking public transportation — and people who have lived in big cities likely already are — it could become a viable, inexpensive and sustainable piece of infrastructure, stimulating the economy, increasing commerce and elevating property values.

But none of this is happening, because too many of us don’t want to ride the bus.

It’s true: The bus is not a sexy way to travel. It’s the shame train. But the PART bus is quite a bit more comfortable and spacious than the GTA, HiTran or WSTA. And the bus is the gateway drug to a glorious future of public transportation in North Carolina, where we can take the train to the beach or into the mountains, hop a light-rail transport into downtown or ride a hassle-free commute to and from work each day.

All we have to do is get on the bus.

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