Wave Transit seeking input on new routes and service options planned to start this summer

Wave seeks public input on amended routes, services

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - You can expect to see some new changes to Wave Transit routes and services starting this summer but before they happen, the transportation provider is looking for public input on the plans.

In January of 2020 both New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington agreed to work together to form a new interlocal agreement - after the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners voted to pull funding from Wave Transit.

“In an effort to identify solutions to the funding challenges faced by Wave Transit, New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington engaged an outside transportation consultant, TransPro Consulting, to conduct a diagnostic assessment for cost saving opportunities and ultimately, design a transportation network that meets the needs of a growing community while providing long-term financial stability,” according to a statement from Wave.

In September of 2020 a final proposal was presented to the board of directors and the following month the revisions were approved by Wave Transit to serve as the framework for services offered.

There are some changes being presented and a public comment period is now open.

“A public comment period will begin on March 8, 2021 and conclude on June 6, 2021. Comments on the proposed changes may be submitted online by clicking HERE, or in-person through comment boxes located at Forden and Padgett stations. To request support or ADA accommodations for the public comment opportunity please call (910) 202-2045 or email vlacer@wavetransit.com,” according to the transportation authority’s website.

Two public hearings will be held in April and May.

The following changes are what is being proposed by Wave Transit.

System changes

Revisions to fixed routes

“Modifications are anticipated for a majority of the fixed bus routes and the Port City Trolley Program within the current system. A summary is as follows:

  • Route 101 Princess Place will undergo no route modifications and continue to operate on a 30-minute frequency during peak times.
  • Route 108 Market St. will undergo no route modifications and frequency will increase from 60-minutes to 30-minutes during peak times.
  • Route 201 Carolina Beach Rd. will undergo minimal route modification and frequency will increase from 60-mintes to 30-minutes during peak times.
  • Fixed bus service via Route 207 North (which serves the northern portion of New Hanover County) and Route 301 Pleasure Island (which serves Carolina Beach south of Monkey Junction) will be eliminated. A revised on-demand, better known as Microtransit, service delivery solution will be offered as an alternative.
  • Frequency will increase from every two hours to 60-minutes on Route 107 College Rd. with the elimination of Route 301 Pleasure Island

Dial-a-ride transportation (DART), or ADA complementary Paratransit service will no longer be offered to areas in which fixed-route transportation services are scheduled for elimination. Areas include northern New Hanover County and Carolina Beach. Customers will have an opportunity to utilize the on-demand, Microtransit service delivery alternative for access to these areas.”

New service option- Microtransit Program

“This new service option will replace fixed route service in Northern New Hanover County and the Carolina Beach area. Microtransit uses real-time dynamic routing that can change on a moment’s notice, allowing riders to go anywhere in the service zone, on-demand. Rides can be booked on the app or by phone. Customers catch a ride at a “virtual bus stop,” and along their route, sophisticated dynamic routing algorithms use real-time, on-the-ground information to add other people traveling in the same direction into the same vehicle.

Microtransit is more responsive, efficient, and has shorter wait times than fixed route service, while still offering a low cost public transportation option for our community. Vendor identification and selection is currently underway and further details on the Microtransit service will be available in June, 2021.”

Route changes

There are a number of route changes being proposed, including the discontinuation of several routes, you can view the entire list of changes online.

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