AppalCart board discusses sustainability and adding buses to routes

Savannah Nguyen, Senior A&C Reporter

AppalCart board members deliberated on route changes, the extension of available parking and sustainable initiatives that may change how residents use Boone’s public transport during the 2019-20 academic year at a board meeting on March 25.

AppalCart Director Craig Hughes can apply for a grant worth $2.5 million for the purchase of sustainable transport after approval from the board.

The Low or No Emission Competitive program will require AppalCart to match 15 percent of the cost of a single low-emissions bus and charging station. Hughes estimates the total cost of the project at $900,000.

The new bus would increase AppalCart service by 1,000 more trips.

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Appalcart’s board meeting took place Monday. Members discussed possible route and parking changes for the next academic year as well as sustainable innovations to the public transportation system.

“If we really want to become dedicated to sustainability, we need to take advantage of this opportunity,” Hughes said.

Hughes has until May 14 to submit the grant application.

Hughes also discussed increasing parking for App State faculty and students, and the board approved asking the Town of Boone for an appraisal on the 3-acre lot at the corner of NC 105 Bypass and Highway 301.

“This may be our only shot for expansion in this town,” vice chair of the board Barry Sauls said.

In the fall, students who ride Express or Pink routes may find a less congested ride from Shadow Line Drive.

“We need to add a new Express or Pink Route in order to fill the need of the new apartment complex built by Southern Group Property Management,” Hughes said. “The route is taking about 500 trips a day already, and the routes are already at capacity, so the inclusion of a new bus there would reduce congestion by a lot.”

The board’s conversation will continue on April 15 at the next meeting starting at 3 p.m. in Room 201A of the Plemmons Student Union.