If you ride the bus in Concord and Kannapolis, you’ll soon be seeing some big changes. The cities’ joint bus system called Rider Transit will be getting eight new hybrid-electric buses with free WiFi hotspots. There will also be service on Sundays starting in October 2013 and several improvements to bus stops, including a doubling of the number of shelters, solar-powered street lights and improved security system.
But it comes at a cost. Starting November 1, the fare will increase by a quarter to $1.25 and reduced fares will jump by a dime to sixty cents.
Concord city spokesman Peter Franzese says this is the first fare hike in the system’s eight-year history. Ridership now averages more than 1,450 people a day.
“Especially with the increase in other types of transportation, people wanting to be more environmentally conscious," Franzese says. "I think the growth is coming out of change in behavior maybe.”
Federal and state grants cover about 80 percent of the costs. The remaining costs will be split between the City of Kannapolis and Concord.
The eight new hybrid-electric buses will replace the older models and will be introduced by the end of 2013.
Buses run hourly from 5:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m Monday to Friday and 8:30 a.m until 8:30 p.m. on Saturdays.