WILMINGTON -- Wave transit may soon be expanding its services. Along with adding stops the bus line is also considering changing its home base. All these changes come with a price, a price that New Hanover County automobile drivers may have to pay. Each day hundreds of people board Wave Transit buses to get where they need to go but the number of passengers on each bus...is few. Wave Transit board member Nancy Pritchett said, "They're never full, that's true. If you look at the bus at two in the afternoon it's relatively not full, but if you look at it at eight in the morning or five in the evening then it's a respectable number." Even though buses aren't packed, Wave wants to expand its services. "Hopefully in time we'll go all the way down to Pleasure Island and Carolina Beach. We need to go out further on Market Street and we need to do Gordon real bad." But in order to put more buses on the road more money is needed. Transit officials have two ideas of where it could come from: tack on an annual $5 fee to register a car in New Hanover County or add a three percent tax onto the price of a car rental. Bus rider Marty Lefever said, "I don't think a working stiff should have to shell out an extra five bucks for a bus system he's only going to use maybe once a year when his car is in the shop. It just doesn't seem fair." Those pushing for more bus lines disagree, saying it will reduce traffic, improve air quality and help others. Pritchett said, "I think we as citizens have a responsibility to those citizens who do not have some of those privileges, and most of our riders do not have access to a car." Transit board members have not decided which route they'll take to pay for the possible expansion. A new terminal however is already in the works. Instead of buses meeting at Princess and Second Streets in downtown Wilmington they'll soon meet off Hunters Trail near CostCo. Construction on the terminal is expected to start this summer.
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