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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – More people are riding the Brunswick County connector bus than ever have before, according to the Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority.
The increase in passengers comes at a time that requires an increase of funding from municipalities on the west side of the Cape Fear River. Thursday WAVE's Board of Directors discussed a 50 percent increase for the towns of Belville, Leland, Navassa and Brunswick County as a whole.
Thursday's proposal comes after Belville town leaders decided they could not support a more than 100 percent increase in WAVE contributions. The authority's executive director, Albert Eby, said cutting the service would save the authority money, but would not be a part of the organization's goal of regionalization.
"Transit is not one of those things that you can act like a yo-yo," said Eby. "They've got to be sure there's a reliable source of transportation out there for them to have."
Eby told board member they could consider shifting $18,000 of the more than $8 million budget in order to save the Brunswick connector route. Negotiations will continue with all municipalities involved in order to find a solution, according to Eby.
Reasons for the increased demand from Brunswick County include rising costs of fuel and diminishing state subsidiaries for public transportation.
At a Navassa meeting Thursday night, WAVE's proposal was heard and is being considered. Navassa is being asked to pay around $1,400 more for bus services. That is double what the community pays now.
Navassa leaders said they would like to see the price tag lowered but they may be able to find more money because it is an important service.
Eby says that they have flexibility on how much they can charge the towns and they are looking at budgets to try to reduce the costs to get Navassa, Belville and other Brunswick County towns on board.
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