WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – It will soon cost residents in Wilmington a little more to catch a Wave. Leaders in Wilmington voted unanimously Thursday to approve a 50 cent rate increase for bus fare.
Kevin O'Grady thanked the riders before the vote, saying most of the comments that came out were in support if an increase in order to keep Sunday service.
Executive director Albert Eby echoed those sentiments when he said the public comment opportunities worked. Only four people spoke at two meetings and a couple of more wrote in opinions.
The Authority proposed in July eliminated the Sunday service as a way to offset increased costs for labor and fuel. Opposition to this move led the Authority to find another way to offset costs.
Eby said most comments favored am increase if it meant continued Sunday service.
Current adult bus fares are $1.50 and the proposed increase will raise adult fares to $2.00.
The increase will start in February 2013 in conjunction with route modifications. The new routes will provide more direct routes and make them more user-friendly and easier to understand.
Permanent license plates
Board members also listened to an update on WAVE's potentially expensive bill for new license plates. Eby said representatives with the local DMV let him know the cost for new plates on the buses could drop from roughly $35,000 to about $2,000. He said he still does not have a definitive answer.
Staff with the transit authority is working with the State Utilities Commission and the Attorney General's Office to fix the legislation that called for the plate replacements. Board member and county commissioner Jonathan Barfield said Thursday that the effect of the new plates puts a burden on local governments and agencies.
"It's a money grab here, there and everywhere to where we're trying to find more money in our budgets," Barfield said. "We all know where that leads, the taxpayer having higher property taxes, which that is not what I want here in New Hanover County."
All permanent plates expire at the end of 2012, including government vehicles. WAVE is not alone in its effort to be include in the new permanent plates, as the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority and New Hanover Regional Medical Center both have vehicles that need regular license plates, according to the new law.
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