Local organizations interested in creating better public transportation in Stokes County are continuing to work on developing a pilot program with the focus shifting to the King community.
Members of the the CenterPoint stakeholders group, which includes local providers and county services like YVEDDI, the health department and social services, met last week to review progress being made on the plan. They hope to eventually create a public bus transportation service which could connect county residents with public services, shopping hubs and key locations like public libraries.
YVEDDI Public Transportation Director Jeff Cockerham said some federal funding may be available for the plan in addition to state transportation funding, but noted that any move to create a public transportation system would need be led by local organizations. He added that the county’s Locally Coordinated Plan, the first step in creating a public transportation system, is up to date and already included a need for deviated fixed routes.
He suggested that if a local steering committee was formed they should first focus on creating a loop in the King area because it had the largest population density and would cost less to operate than longer routes which could connect the county’s three municipal areas.
“When you are talking about going into the county you are talking about lots of mileage which adds up to a lot of money,” he said. “Let’s make sure we can make this work and have sustainable funding for it. If we go too big in the very beginning and it fails then that will probably be the end of this.
“If there ends up being support from enough agencies and people and elected officials then you can make it as big as you want,” he added.
He said a local committee needed to be formed to drive the initiative and that they needed to start talking to local leaders about interest and funding for the project.
Once a committee is formed they will need to look at where the public transportation route needs to stop and how frequently it would run in order to come up with an estimate of operating costs.
Potential destinations in King could include the YMCA, parks, primary care providers, urgent care, shopping centers, the downtown area, King Outreach Ministries, the library and the senior center.
The group will also be seeking partners for the project which could include the City of King, various foundations, CenterPoint, the health department, DSS or the county government.
Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.