Going Beyond Just Getting You There
By Aaron Kohrs, Mobility Manager at Greenway Public Transportation
Serving the North Carolina foothills counties of Catawba, Burke, Alexander, and Caldwell with public transportation since 2008, Greenway Public Transportation is a regional government agency that moves people – quite literally – to where they need or want to go. We operate “fixed” or regular bus routes, where a bus has specific pick-up or drop-off points, as well as van service, which is available on demand for individual needs.
However, we believe our greatest strength is our desire to serve the public based on community collaboration. We have worked to stay in touch with the western North Carolina cities and towns where we operate transit; and we innovate, partner when our riders could benefit. For example, we started bus routes in Burke County when we heard there were a high number of missed medical appointments and a need, by the underserved, to access human service organizations. We worked with nonprofits, the hospital system, and local governments to find private funding for four trial routes. Each route has a “flex” zone so that riders can deviate the route on demand.
We did something similar in Catawba County when we heard from Hickory Soup Kitchen that there were homeless people without transportation to get to work. Under the direction of HSK Director Austin Pearce, we partnered to provide transit for Project HOPE, a non-profit initiative that helps people who stay near the soup kitchen reach a place of employment each morning.
Greenway also works to make sure we are keeping pace with current trends in technology – including smart-phone use. We have a real-time “Ride Systems” application that allows riders to see our fixed route buses move in real time; no more waiting at the bus stop wondering where your ride is! Our new website, which debuted this year, is mobile and tablet-friendly as part of our goal to keep current and attract a younger ridership.
Like our bright green buses, we like to add a little personality to everything we do – we have a summer program called “Passport to Adventure” that includes a calendar of regional events – educational and entertainment – that a rider can reach via public transit. Last year, our summer program included narrated ride-alongs with local mayors and a historian to educate the public about the civic and historical offerings along each route.
Another partnership we have cultivated is inspired by the art and poetry on board the New York City subway. Like the subway system in NYC, which features art and literary quotes from local museums, we have partnered with our own local art museum and public library system to have our art works and poetry excerpts on board. From Shakespeare to landscapes of the regional treasure, The Blue Ridge Mountains, our riders enjoy the arts on every ride. One of our riders recently remarked, “I read the poetry on board every day.” We are moving people – literally and figuratively!
At Greenway, our mission is to provide a high-quality and attractive alternative to driving personal vehicles. Mass transit means “going green”; by traveling with us, one less carbon-emitting car is on the road.
At Greenway, we are going places – and making sure every rider reaches their destination with a story to tell.
At Greenway, we move people – because we listen and learn from them before we go on the journey together. Join us on board!
Western Piedmont Regional Transit Authority doing business as Greenway Public Transportation operates fixed or flex routes in Catawba, Burke, and Alexander Counties; as well as van service in Catawba, Burke, Alexander, and Caldwell Counties in the western foothills of North Carolina. Learn more about public transportation in our local communities at www.mygreenway.org.
Greenway Public Transportation welcomes citizen input about our routes and services; scroll to the bottom of our homepage for the link to send in your words and feedback about public transit!