After three decades of explosive growth, Apex is joining other large Triangle municipalities in offering its own bus service.
GoApex Route 1 begins Saturday with a single 19-passenger bus that will run hourly from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. six days a week, except major holidays.
Route 1 was designed to connect the town’s busiest destinations, including downtown, medical centers, schools, town hall and the community and senior center and shopping areas, including Beaver Creek Commons, Beaver Creek and the Walmart off the Apex Peakway.
Apex’s population has ballooned from fewer than 5,000 residents in 1990 to more than 62,000, according to the latest census estimates. With that growth some residents have started looking for options to get around, said Katie Schwing, the town’s senior transit planner.
“We’ve heard through public engagement efforts over the past few years that people are really excited and positive about the idea of having transit access,” Schwing said in an interview.
In particular, Schwing said, they heard from people who want to take the bus to downtown shops and restaurants; parents who would like their teens to be able to ride to shopping areas or the community center, and employers who expect some of their workers to use it.
As with other local bus systems in the Triangle, GoApex is free to ride. That was an important goal for the system from the beginning, said Stuart Wagner, who heads the Apex Transit Committee, because it removed a possible barrier for riders.
“One of our target demographics is also our younger riders,” Wagner wrote in an email. “Being able to get to that summer job at Beaver Creek shopping center, Publix Point, the Walmart shopping center or even downtown Apex, the GoApex Route 1 offers an alternative to borrowing the family car.”
The town is contracting with GoCary to operate the bus, with the cost split between the town and Wake County’s half-cent transit sales tax approved by voters in 2016. GoApex and a new companion service for disabled riders called Apex Door to Door are expected to cost about $800,000 a year, Schwing said.
GoApex will make about 45 stops along its route. It will intersect with GoTriangle Route 305 and GoCary’s Apex-Cary Express, which both carry people to and from town during commuting hours, Monday through Friday.
Wagner, who rides to work via GoCary, says the Apex committee spent about five year researching a potential bus service, to determine where it should go and who might ride it. He acknowledges that this growing suburban town is taking a bit of a leap of faith.
“Will success be instantaneous? I have no idea,” he wrote. “But we will never know until we get that first bus on the route and see. Regardless, GoApex Route 1 has the potential to add yet another layer of sophistication to what has become a very savvy little town.”
For more information about GoApex Route 1, go to www.apexnc.org/1697/GoApex-Route-1. For more on the Apex Door to Door paratransit service, go to www.apexnc.org/1703/GoApex-Door-to-Door.
This story was originally published July 26, 2022 2:31 PM.
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