Driver shortage causes shift in AppalCart routes

AppalCart+announced+changes+to+several+routes+this+week+in+light+of+staffing+shortages.+

Moss Brennan

AppalCart announced changes to several routes this week in light of staffing shortages.

Emily Broyles, Editor-in-Chief

Public bus system AppalCart is changing its routes this week because of staff shortages, the company announced Friday.

Watauga County’s public transportation authority is altering six routes Aug. 30 – Sept. 3 while it trains drivers to fill in. Other public transportation and school bus systems in the country have also made this move in an effort to assist the community and workers. 

Here are the recent changes:

  • Gray Route: Utilize the Silver Route instead of this route. Silver will take passengers to the NC 105 Lot using the Highland Crossing Shelter located in front of Goodwill until 6 p.m. The Green route will stop at the NC 105 lot after 6 p.m. throughout the week and weekend. The NC 105 Shuttle will still be active on Friday and Sunday afternoons, according to AppalCart.
  • Green 3: This bus now stops at 3:30 p.m. Green buses 1, 2 and 4 are still running on the Green Route, along with Orange 1.  
  • Orange 2: Orange 1 is running regularly. Green buses are making stops to Mountaineer Village during the day, similar to App State’s game day routes. Passengers can expect the first Green Route bus to arrive :01, :21 and :41 after the hour, according to AppalCart.
  • Pink 2: This bus now stops at 3:30 p.m. Pink 1 and Express routes are still active at regularly scheduled times. 
  • Pop 105 (Bus 3): Pop 105 buses 1 and 2 are still active. 
  • Purple 3: Purple 1 and 2 are still active. 

Craig Hughes, AppalCart transportation director, said ridership stands around 11,000 trips a day. He said it is usually 13,000 or 14,000 toward the beginning of the semester.  

“The adjustment has required additional planning and communication with our passengers and other agencies,” Hughes said. “We have been reviewing routes to see which ones were necessary to keep to provide access to those in our service area and we also considered which routes would still be able to meet demand after a service reduction.”

Hughes said AppalCart is working to train more drivers, “but it may take a little time before we can have all of our buses back on the road.”