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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County’s public transportation could be getting closer to making waves at the beach. The Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority is considering charging residents more to have a car to help finance new bus routes to the beach towns.

“We were up like 9,000 passengers in June alone over June a year ago,” CFPTA board members Hank Adams said.

With that growth, Wave Transit is considering many new routes. One old idea that is under consideration again is buses to the beach.

“We did a survey a couple years ago with UNCW. It was a scientific survey. Eighty-seven percent of folks wanted to see service to the beaches,” Wave executive director Albert Eby said. “So we’re going out, we’re meeting with the beach communities, we’re meeting with interested parties to see what the interest is or the community’s support for increased public transportation here in New Hanover County.”

If there is enough public support Wave could ask the county commission to implement an additional seven-dollar fee to each vehicle registered in New Hanover County. The fee would finance new routes for the Wave. In particular it could take passengers down to Carolina, Kure and even Wrightsville Beach.

“This would offer us the opportunity not only to provide the capital for the initiative, but it would also allow us to provide the long-term operating cost for the initiative,” Eby said.

But that support may be hard to find.

“It would be nice for the buses to come here, but I think it should be a fee to the person riding the bus rather than to the overall taxpayers, because not everyone will be using them,” Carole Robinette said during a visit to Wrightsville Beach.

Fellow beach visitor John Beaumont agreed.

“Going to the beach is kind of a commodity,” he said. “It’s something fun to do, but it’s not like a necessity. I don’t think everyone should have to pay for the few.”

The additional fee to car owners is only a possibility, and Eby says even if the plan moves forward, buses likely would not roll to the beach until 2013.

Public transportation to the beaches is not a new idea. A trolley known as the Beach Car ran to Wrightsville Beach for years, and later there were buses. A few years ago Wrightsville Beach leaders nixed the idea of bringing a bus back saying there was not enough room for a bus stop.

Comment on this Story

  • guesty

    How is it another responsibility of vehicle owners to support public transportation? Make the fares enough to be self sufficient and keep out of my pocket. Another poster stated to tax mopeds. That is a good idea as well as make them have license plates and insurance. When Bob hits me on his dui-cruzer, I want the damages he caused to be fixed. Those things are supposed to stay at the edge of the road, not in the middle of a lane.

  • Guest461

    I encourage everyone to write the county commissioners and attend their meetings to flat out reject this rediculous money grab!!!

    If bus riders want a ride to the beach, THEY can pay for it through the fares. To slap another tax on drivers for those already sucking lifetime entitlements is totally assinine and a blatant slap in the face to the responsible citizens of this county!

    Put a mark on this people! We have got to get the cronies out of the commissioners office during the next vote! We need and deserve a commission that works for the responsible, hard working citizens of this county. This is an effort to scour up votes from the entitlement recipients that just think they are getting more free stuff. You know, the first time, minority voters that put Obama in office. Absolutely unbelievable!!!

  • GuestLee

    This is absolutely, totally ridiculous! I NEVER go to any of the beaches, so why should I have to pay $7.00 every year for others to go? WHO thinks up these asinine ways to keep bleeding citizens dry? For Pete’s sake! Just add a special charge to those taking the buses! Make THEM pay for the priviledge of using the transportation system. Charge them what they would have paid in parking fees for a day on the beach. Good grief!

  • Challengetheworld

    It’s called the taxes. If you can cut out things from other pork fat budgets then you can pay for your little bus routes. Don’t punish me because I have a car and pay for it already. Gas is $4.00 per gallon because we have the highest road taxes in the south.

    Here is a novel idea, how about you CHARGE MORE TO RIDE THE BUS!

  • Guestax

    The people running these “Authorities” just keep nickel and diming everyone at their leasure.

    Take the 66k from the Housing “AUTHORITY” for the picnic tables, grills and dog poop stations in the projects and quit taxing the non-users to death. Charge the USERS more if they want to go to the beach. I’m sure Ricky Meeks won’t mind paying a little more of his disability money to go and enjoy the beach while we work. It may even help him with his depression and he can start working too.

  • Guestu

    I agree charge more for the bus ride for the people who don’t have a car.

  • Guestodopolis

    A bus route to the any of beaches needs to be funded 100% by the bus fare the rider pays.

    I can understand using tax dollars to help fund Wave so people without transportation can get to work and the grocery store, but to ask for a fee to help fund someones trip to the beach is sickening.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    It’s far easier to simply pass the cost onto the people who don’t even ride the bus.

    For such a supposedly conservative county, we have no shortage of wealth redistribution fanatics (such as CFPUA and WAVE) who think it’s their calling to play Robin Hood.

    If you want to pay for buses to the beach, let your riders take the existing buses to your new central palace, then put them on a bus to the beach and charge them three dollars each way. Stop robbing the productive and successful people to shield others from the reality of their life choices.

  • Eugene

    Ok, at first I thought I was confused about a car tax. That could not POSSIBLY be what is being recommended.

    The ONLY way I would ever consider supporting WAVE with tax dollars is if services were AVAILABLE 24/7 throughout the region. It is not. I would like to park my car and take Mass Transit. But you don’t service my work hours nor my community but once an hour and that stops at 9:30pm, and doesn’t run on weekends.

    Why should I pay for the lack of foresight in recognizing a population explosion would require better services?

    Oh my! We have a city-wide trail! No we don’t. It serves the prominent tax base in Wilmington. Think about the trail and it’s location. Don’t tell me it benefits everyone. I still can’t get on it and bike to work.

    Look at who gets the big dollar road improvements. When was the last time your street has been repaved? How long has it been since you asked for speed bumps? When was the last time you were able to get your neighborhood closed off to through traffic or make it difficult to use as a short cut?

    My neighbors and others in Wrightsboro paid taxes to have county water brought in as early as the 1980’s. most of us are still on well water and septic. Why? Because we don’t provide enough TAX base? Is there no incentive?

    Explain to me in the time that we live in why Northern New Hanover County residents, with exception of those in large subdivisions, are still on septic and well? Yet you can spend millions on parks, and other non-essential services.

    I am for improving parks and providing recreational access to waterways. I use them as much as I can.

    But what about our health? Is that asking too much?

    Oh that WOULD be expecting too much. I forgot about you asking our input in regards to Titan. Are you going to provide us with alternative water sources if Titan does ruin our water supply and taints the aquifers (which many of us get our water from) with cancer causing agents? Are you waiting for a disaster? Then you hope to stick us with the improvement bill?

    You don’t serve my community needs without being selective. You choose when it benefits you, Mr. and Ms. County Commissioner and you have done it for years.

    So take a bus ride to the beach on your own dime. Not mine.

  • Scott

    I sent an E-mail to all commissioners and Mr. Eby with a carbon copy going to both WWAY & WECT asking them to explain to me as a vehicle owner why is it my responsibility to pay for others to go to the beach. Jason Thompson was first to respond in his usual short manner. I had to reply to him to ask for clarification as to if he supported this measure and if the citizens would get to vote on it or if it would only be the commissioners. He said he doesn’t support it and only commissioners would get to vote. Then Brian Berger responded and stated he was about 95% opposed to the additional tax but wants to hear from both sides before locking in against it. Mr. Eby also responded with documentation showing county commissioners had the power to implement this tax. Commissioners Ted Davis, Rick Catlin and Jonathan Barfield haven’t responded yet.

    Unless you want to pay for others to go to the beach, call or e-mail each commissioner.

    Barfield: jbarfield@nhcgov.com 233-8780
    Thompson: jthompson@nhcgov.com 798-7260
    Davis: tdavis@nhcgov.com 313-0755
    Berger: bberger@nhcgov.com 431-3115
    Catlin: rcatlin@nhcgov.com 452-5861

    Albert Eby
    Executive Director WAVE: aeby@wavetransit.com 202-2035

  • Guest350

    Maybe that $66,000 for grills in the ghetto could go for the bus route expansion.

  • Guest1

    At least in socialism, everyone is forced to work. Why would I want to pay $7 for people to get to the beach? Do I have to start worry now also about my belongings when I go for walk or swim? Will my wallet be still there? Bringing those crowds to the beach will force the hard working, relaxing people on their days off, to go somewhere else. Or to move somewhere else, like another country silly decision makers!

  • Guest6675

    Here is a novel idea, how about charging the mopeds that extra tax. You let them rule the road anyway!

  • Guest99x

    Here’s a modest proposal for a compromise…. cut the executive director of WHA’s salary from $140000 to $70000. Use the $66000 to by the grills and tables for the public housing community and invest the remaining $4000 in public transportation to the beach.


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