WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — In Thursday’s meeting, Wave Public Transit Board of Directors voted to reduce service hours starting in January.
Starting January 6, buses will run Monday through Friday 6 a.m.- 8 p.m. and weekends 9 a.m.-6 p.m. The current hours of operation are Monday-Saturday 6 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
The changes save Wave approximately $200,000.
Reducing hours was one of the many proposed changes to help expand the budget for the rest of the fiscal year. Other changes included cutting routes and days of service.
The board says reducing hours was not ideal, but it was the least devastating to their passengers.
“This is a very difficult decision,” Executive Director Albert Eby said. “Because we heard from our passengers last week the impact it was going to have. It is going to be impactful to some of our passengers and we know that.”
Although, Eby says changes may not be permanent.
“We could get the service back at some time if we could figure out a way to bring in additional revenue for our operation,” he said.
These changes were proposed after Wave found out they would not be receiving various state and federal grants, leaving them about half a million dollars short in their budget.
Wave then reached out to local entities to help cover the difference including New Hanover County.
Instead of giving Wave the additional $57,000, the county voted to terminate their contract with the transit service after 2021.
Senator Harper Peterson says that decision was concerning.
“That’s very alarming. I think we need to bring the county together with the city and all the players in this and try to come up with solutions,” Senator Peterson said. “Try to fix the problems and concerns rather than just turning our backs and walking away. That’s not productive and that’s not going to meet our challenges.”
He says public transportation is essential for our community looking ahead.
“It will play an important part in our future growth and providing mobility for every citizen,” Senator Peterson said.
Despite the setback, Executive Director Albert Eby said the board is listening to the riders.
“Our goal is to advance public transportation,” he said. “And we know there are needs in the community that are unmet.”
On January 18, Wave Public Transit will close the downtown station at 2nd Street and Princess in order to open the new, upgraded station on 4th Street. For more details on route changes visit the Wave Transit website here.