Wave Transit expands through new infrastructure, partnership, bus routes
Published: Thursday, July 28, 2011
Updated: Thursday, July 28, 2011 22:07
Managing to keep afloat in rough economic waters, Wave Transit is on the up and up. Passenger revenue is significantly above what had been budgeted for this year, and Wave Transit is continuing to expand after the April opening of its Forden Station on Cando Street behind Costco.
"[Forden Station] provides an environment that is much more inviting and user-friendly," said Wave Transit Executive Director Albert Eby.
The station is also designed to meet Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standards. Mounted on the station's roof are various plants, and its wave design directs water to pervious pavement in the parking lots. Features of the station also include geothermal heating and cooling and motion-activated lighting.
In the past year, the number of passengers has doubled, according to Wave officials. That increase in ridership has given Wave a $121,000 boost, the Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority announced at a meeting in June.
In the works now are two new buildings—a multi-modal transportation center downtown and a maintenance facility off Martin Luther King Parkway, according to Eby.
The multi-modal facility will be located on Campbell Street between Third and Fourth Street and will resemble the Forden Station, Eby said. It will not only be a hub for city buses, but also for taxis, intercity buses and, if passenger rail service comes to Wilmington, trains.
In addition to the new infrastructure, Wave is expanding by way of a partnership with Greyhound, according to Eby.
"We are working on a contract to bring Greyhound to the Forden Station," he said.
Wave Transit also hopes to expand its service all the way to the waves of Wrightsville Beach. Wave is currently working with county commissioners to put in place a seven dollar vehicle registration fee in order to bring bus service to the beach, an expansion that UNCW students have been rooting for, for years. A seven dollar increase would bump the cost of vehicle registration from $28 to $35 and would provide Wave Transit with the $1.1 million necessary for such an expansion, said Eby.
UNCW and Wave Transit have entered a contract for the 2011-2012 school year, and the Wave shuttles will continue to provide transportation to UNCW.
"We hope to work with UNCW in the future," said Eby. He added that Wave is able to use subsidies it receives to provide service to UNCW, which is more efficient than if the University's shuttle system were self-sustaining.