AppalCART to receive largest buses to date

Two 40-foot buses will be added to AppalCART’s fleet around the middle of October, making them the largest buses to date, Director of AppalCART Chris Turner said.

Current AppalCART buses are 35-feet.

“This will be the step up for us in being able to offer more seats on the bus and also more standing room,” Turner said.

Turner said he hopes the buses help alleviate situations when buses are too overcrowded to pick up everybody.

One of the buses will replace an older bus and the other will be an extra bus, he said.

The buses cost about $375,000, which is only 10 percent of the purchase price.

North Carolina Department of Transportation has an agreement with AppalCART that covers 90 percent of the remaining cost with federal and state money because AppalCART is a public transportation, Turner said.

As part of the agreement, Turner applies for a grant every year to buy buses.

The two 40-foot buses were purchased from the July 2011 grant and this year’s grant will go toward buying a 40-foot hybrid bus.

The addition of the new buses is part of AppalCART’s five-year plan, which started March of 2011 and ends 2016, to have enough spare buses, Turner said.

Turner said the goal to have enough spare buses is a “moving target,” because of new apartments like the Boone Cottages.

With Boone Cottages, AppalCART will need four more buses once the apartments reach full occupancy, he said

Tommy Medley, AppalCART driver for four years, said getting more buses is going to be nice.
“It seems like we can’t get enough new buses,” he said.

Medley, who has driven the Pop 105 Route, said he’s had to leave students behind because the bus was full.

With the addition of Boone Cottages and other new apartments, Medley said AppalCART is going to be “short some buses.”

Senior electronic media broadcasting major Kaylie Jones rides the AppalCART every day its open, usually Purple and Gold routes.

This semester, Jones said she’s been left behind a couple of times because there were “so many people.”

Jones said she think it’s “great” that AppalCART is getting new buses.

Ryan Hartley, who takes classes at Appalachian, rides the AppalCART almost everyday its open.

Hartley said a bus has left him behind during the spring 2012 semester, but that it hasn’t happened this semester.

Harley said he’s “down” with AppalCART’s new buses.

“The school is growing and people are using it more,” he said.


Story: KELLI STRAKA, News Editor