WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The idea of a Wilmington-to-beach shuttle may be ready to roll again. An entrepreneur from New York wants to hit the gas on a private beach bus not run by New Hanover County. Beach town leaders say they are open to hearing the idea, but so far, they have not received any official proposal.
A local newspaper recently reported that Dwayne Nelson wants to start a private bus run from Wilmington to Wrightsville Beach and Pleasure Island. We tried to get in touch with Nelson, but could not find any information for him or his company Port City Tours.
In a newspaper interview, though, Nelson said he plans to move to Wilmington in November and hopes to have his 60-passenger coaches up and running by spring. However, local leaders say Nelson has not approached them with his idea.
“It would be my suggestion that he make sure that this is something that the community wants and would be well-received by the community,” Wrightsville Beach Mayor David Cignotti said.
Cignotti said a lack of communication with the beaches was what led to the downfall of the Wave Transit beach bus plan. He said it’s better to consult the citizens before making a plan than to make a plan and present it to them.
Carolina Beach Town Councilman Dan Wilcox said this is the first he’s heard of the private beach bus plan, but he’s open to the idea.
“Most of the residents I’ve talked to are OK with it as long as they are not paying for it directly,” Wilcox said.
He thinks a bus between beaches would be good for tourists and residents, but says including Wilmington could also have advantages.
Wilcox, Cignotti and leaders from Wilmington say there are permits needed for a project like this. They say they’re not making Nelson jump through hoops. They just want to be thorough and make sure they are benefiting their residents.
“Our town has always been a public beach,” Cignotti said. “On the other side, it’s a very very popular beach that sometimes in the summer, like on weekends, I think we’re probably at full capacity. I don’t think we can take more people and preserve our quality of life.”
Wilcox said, “We’re very business-friendly, and if it’s a good idea, then we’d be glad to take a look at it.”
Wave Transit recently proposed adding bus services to the beach’s by taxing each car owned in New Hanover County.
The private bus plan would be reportedly be funded solely through rider fares.