CHAPEL HILL – Triangle Transit has started a new program to improve bus performance called Bus on Shoulder.

The new program is exactly as it sounds: it will allow buses to drive on the shoulders of roads during heavy traffic.  Triangle Transit Public Affairs Officer Brad Schulz says the program improves the bus system.

“When the bus can use the shoulder, it keeps them more on schedule and allows them to perform their duties at work,” he says.

Drivers are allowed to use their discretion when driving on the shoulders during heavy traffic.  Once the traffic has slowed to below 35 mph, the buses are authorized by the NCDOT to use the shoulders as long as they maintain a safe speed.  So far Schulz says it’s all gone well.

“We’ve had over 1000 uses of Bus on Shoulder,” he says, “and we successfully have had no incidents involving any of our operators or anyone in a car.”

The two routes that Triangle Transit offers in Chapel Hill are the 800 route to Southpoint and the Chapel Hill-Raleigh Express, though only the Chapel Hill-Raleigh Express saw an increase in the number of riders this year.

Schulz says the “Bus on Shoulder” program is a convenient way to improve bus time and provide reliable transportation–and he says implementation was cost effective.

“The cost of this was approximately $2000 per shoulder mile,” he says. “We believe this has really been a cost-effective improvement to enhance transit, to enhance the reliability to commuters.”

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