City may build bus shelters

Public hearing 7 p.m. Tuesday
Jun. 14, 2013 @ 12:14 PM

Thomasville City Council will consider a plan Tuesday night to bring additional shelters to its popular bus route.

Council will consider a budget amendment of $25,000 from the its general contingency fund  to purchase and install at least four more shelters along the city bus route.

In March, Council and Davidson County Commissioners elected not to pursue an $80,000 Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant from the Federal Highway Administration that would've provided funding for up to 10 additional shelters. But with the route growing in popularity and scale, the city decided additional shelters would be worth an investment.

Councilman Neal Grimes said a contingency of the federal grant required putting shelters at stops before sufficient ridership data could be collected. The route expanded by 20 stops in March, but currently has only three shelters.

"We thought we could do better on our own," said Grimes. "We will spend that money on as many shelters along the route as we afford. We're just trying to see what the best deal for the dollar is. This gives us the opportunity to let the buses run for a couple of more months to get some ridership information and find where the more popular stops are." 

"The ridership is far exceeding anyone's expectations,” said City Manager Kelly Craver.  “We have had a tremendous amount of response to this service. I think it certainly has enhanced the quality of life for people in our town. It has been wildly successful."

Thomasville's bus route, which runs from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday started in 2011 and includes 61 stops.

In other business, the Council will consider a budget amendment to appropriate approximately $12,000 to Thomasville Tourism. Craver said the city's occupancy tax collected more money than expected, which could be a reflection of an improving economy.

"It's not a bad thing at all," Craver said. "Their revenues had been declining over the past five or six years. It's a good thing because it means more people came and stayed in hotels in Thomasville."

Three public hearings scheduled for this month's meeting will be delayed. With council meeting on Tuesday night and not Monday, the public hearings on two economic development incentives and CDBG grant projects will be re-advertised and rescheduled for a later date.

Craver, Mayor Joe Bennett and Councilman Joel Pierce are in Denver, Colo., for the All-America City award and will not return until late Monday afternoon.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 18, at 7 W. Guilford St.

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or duke@tvilletimes.com.