Budget cuts could cut bus routes - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Budget cuts could cost several bus routes

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Proposed budget cuts could eliminate routes through New Hanover County. Proposed budget cuts could eliminate routes through New Hanover County.

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Proposed budget cuts could affect Wave Transit bus routes. New Hanover County Commissioners are considering cutting over $100,000 from money they allocate to Wave Transit.

If commissioners approve the proposed changes, the cuts would take approximately 40 percent of Wave Transit's budget -- forcing the cancellation of three bus routes by the end of September. Routes in danger of being cut include Route 207 North, 107 College Road, and 301 Pleasure Island.

Some people say these cutbacks could cost people their jobs. The bus service in Carolina Beach has only been around for about six months, but according to data from Wave Transit, more than 5,000 people use the bus to get around.

Glen Boswell has trouble walking these days. A knee injury forced him to use a can for the past year and a half. The bus services is the only way for him to get around. Boswell says he uses the bus to visit his 3-year old daughter in Wilmington every week.

"It's definitely a lifeline," said Boswell. "People that have jobs in Wilmington, they lose that lifeline of a bus and may lose their jobs. Me, I lose days of visitation."

Boswell isn't the only one who rides the wave. Virginia Nohe is the President of the Federal Point Help Center in Carolina Beach -- an emergency organization that helps the community by providing food, transportation, medical services, and more.

"It's so important that we have this service, that people have a right to transportation all across New Hanover County, not just part of it," said Nohe. "We shouldn't be forgotten."

Out of 400 clients, Nohe estimates that half of them use the bus services on a regular basis. She says taking the bus routes out of Carolina Beach will take something else away from her clients.

"You're taking their job away," said Nohe. "Come on commissioners, this is not what it's supposed to be like."

Over the past few months, Nohe has gathered dozens of signatures on a petition, asking county commissioners to save the Pleasure Island bus route.

If county commissioners approve the cuts, then Wave Transit will be forced to drop three bus routes by the end of September.

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