This week in history: Bus transit system planned for Boone

Kaitlyn Potochnik curated this article by Mark Bumgarner which The Appalachian published on Nov. 14, 1974.

Support was obtained for a Community-University Transit System Monday in a joint meeting at Boone City Hall. The system is tentatively set to begin December 9.

Archie Pierce, a representative of the Watauga, Avery, Mitchell, and Yancey County Community Action Program (WAMY), sought support from the University and the city of Boone.

He said the WAMY was willing to provide one bus and the required insurance, but additional revenue was needed to meet other expenses.

Pierce has been working with the Student Government Services Committee in an effort to get a transit system started in Boone.

The projected total cost of operating the bus for one year is $12,076. Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs Ned Trivett said the University is equipped to maintain the bus and the University’s tax-free gasoline could be used to reduce the total cost.

He said that the University could support the system until the project is able to find other sources of revenue.

Greg Honeycutt, chairman of the Student Government Services Committee, said that Financial Aid Director Steve Gabriel would agree to hiring student drivers on the work study program to further defray the cost of operation.

The SGA budget includes $840 to supplement a transit system program. The total deficit which will have to be met is approximately $1,200.

Several students have approached Robert Leak, SGA President about the possibility of having a transit system. Leak cited reasons for a transit system as an anticipated energy shortage and an effort to facilitate the plan for freshman and sophomore parking at the Horn in the West. 

Leak felt that the transit system last year was not an adequate trial for a transit service in Boone because the bus was in ill-repair and the schedule could not be met.

When Pierce was questioned about the one bus system, he said, “Admittedly, one bus is not going to make that much difference, and actually the town needs three buses to serve the people, but one bus will allow us to test the effectiveness and need for a larger system.”

Pierce mentioned the parking problem which the town is having and suggested that the transit system may attract more shoppers to the downtown area. 

Alternatives for financing the deficit were suggested and include personal contributions and display advertising on the bus.

The system will be scheduled to run Monday through Saturday, 11 hours a day. The route picked for the system is a double loop, designed to encompass the city and make stops at populated areas. The University will be passed twice in making one complete circuit. The fare will be 25 cents. 

Mayor Gordon Winkler said, “We are interested in making the transit work and developing good relations with students.”

In summary, Honeycutt said, “The meeting was a fruitful one in gathering moral backing from the University, merchants, and Boone.”

Leak added, “ We are depending upon students to utilize the system.”