County, city leaders to work together to 'reboot’ public transportation

County, city leaders to work together to 'reboot’ public transportation

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Leaders with the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County announced Tuesday a collaboration to improve public transportation in the area.

“Our region has grown since 2004 when WAVE was established by the city and county,” said New Hanover County Chairwoman Julia Olson-Boseman said during a news conference. “Our community needs have changed since then, and so have our transportation options. But WAVE hasn’t shifted its direction or evolved like they need to to accommodate the growth and the change in mobility needs. The transportation system we have today is not the one we need for the future.

“... So the county and the city are going to work together over the coming year and a half to build a system that strengthens public transportation and creates a more sustainable model focusing on our riders’ needs and the community’s goal.”

Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said Tuesday that the hope is that a new structure and agreement will be in place by July 2021.

“We will work together to come up with a solution so that our public transportation system can meet the needs of our citizens now and in the future," Saffo said.

WAVE buses will continue running while changes are considered, according to Saffo.

Last October, county commissioners voted to give WAVE Transit notice the county would be terminating its contract with the public transportation system.

The following month, New Hanover County commissioners denied WAVE Transit’s request for a $57,000 subsidy to bridge their financial gap for 2020.

Olson-Boseman said she expects to see major changes with who is running WAVE.

“My expectation is that there will be new management and a new board,” Olson-Boseman said Tuesday. “We support public transportation. We think it’s time that get up with the times and deal with ride sharing and other avenues that we can work with public transportation. Right now, I have no faith in that board and administration.”

HAPPENING NOW: New Hanover County and City of Wilmington leaders hold news conference to make a "community announcement."

Posted by WECT News on Tuesday, January 7, 2020

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