A new state-subsidized bus route linking Wilmington and Charlotte launched Tuesday.
The Queen City-Coastal Connector intercity bus service makes nine stops, including in Whiteville, Lumberton, and Fayetteville.
Each day there will be one trip between Charlotte and Wilmington in both directions.
Charles Patton, director of Columbus County Public Transportation, said the last intercity bus service stopped in the county more than 25 years ago.
"I have for years been getting phone calls asking if there was a way to get to Wilmington or get to Fayetteville," he said.
Patton explained once passengers get to the larger cities, they can catch another bus line or even a train.
"You can go anywhere in the country from there," Patton said.
On-board wi-fi is just one of the changes Emmett Langley has seen in his 39 year career as a bus driver.
He was behind the wheel of the Horizon Coach Lines bus as it left Whiteville Tuesday morning en route to Lumberton.
Langley said interacting with passengers is a reward of the job.
"I listen to what they have to say - their excitement about going home for weddings or their sadness going home for funerals," he said.
Langley has driven more than two million miles in his career. With this new route, he will add 268 each day.
Click here for a schedule and fares: http://bit.ly/1vu5Arl
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