WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Those who rely on public transportation to travel between New Hanover and Brunswick counties may soon be left stranded.
Some made their voices heard at a public hearing on the future of Wave Transit’s Route 204 Brunswick Connector Wednesday night.
“I want y’all to please, and I’m begging y’all to please and I’m begging y’all please to work something out with Leland and y’all,” the lone attendee at Wednesday’s public hearing said.
Route 204 goes from the downtown Wilmington transfer station over the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge into Leland, through Navassa, to Highway 17 stopping at Harris Teeter, Brunswick Forest and Walmart, before returning to Wilmington.
Wave Interim Director Megan Matheny says in May, the Town of Leland announced it was pulling funding for public transportation. Soon after, the Town of Navassa and Brunswick County both followed suit.
“The support provided was just over $100,000,” Matheny said. “The total cost to operate Route 204 is just over roughly $320,000.”
Without that funding, Wave says it is forced to cut off its Brunswick County route. This leaves between 1,200 and 1,800 monthly riders stranded.
One of those riders, who lives in the Love Grove community in Wilmington and works in Leland, came out to voice concerns.
“I’ve been working at Piggly Wiggly for four years, and that’s about the only transportation I got to get back and forth across the bridge,” he said.
He says a bus ride to work is a $4 round trip. A cab ride can be more than $20 for a round trip, more than $100 per week.
We’re very sympathetic, empathetic to our customers,” Matheny said. “Public transportation is the only affordable transportation that many of our customers have.”
While Matheny says it is impossible to keep the route going without the funding from the two towns and the county, she hopes the comments can be used to help future transportation in Brunswick County.
The next public hearing is Thursday at noon at the Wave Transit Operations Center located at 1480 Castle Hayne Rd., Wilmington, NC 28401.
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