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Pittsboro-Chapel Hill bus route costs $352, 712 and launches August 24

Posted Friday, August 14, 2009

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Pittsboro, NC - Residents of Pittsboro and northeastern Chatham County will soon have a new weekday transit option to and from Chapel Hill. Starting August 24, Chapel Hill Transit (CHT) expands its express bus service to provide weekday service between Pittsboro and Chapel Hill, along US 15-501.

What is the total cost of the service?
State share: $176,356
Local share: $176,356 (Chatham County and Town of Pittsboro)
Total operating costs: $352,712 (18 months)

Those who want to test out the new route at no cost can ride the express bus free through August 31. The full trip from downtown Pittsboro to the last stop in Chapel Hill will take less than 45 minutes.

George Lucier, chair of the Board of Commissioners said that “the express bus will help people save on parking and fuel costs, which are on the rise again, and will reduce the number of vehicles on US 15-501 during rush hour. We are very appreciative of all of the partners involved in making it happen.”

The service is offered through a partnership between the Town of Chapel Hill, the Town of Pittsboro, and Chatham County. All partners agree that it is very important for residents to be a part of making the route successful, which would be a key step in developing a regional transit system.

Lucier added that public transit also makes certain jobs or education more accessible to lower income residents. “People may not have a car of their own or have the funds to cover parking fees at UNC.”

The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill has agreed to provide annual passes for students and employees of the University and UNC Health Care who are enrolled in the Commuter Alternative Program (CAP). Employees and students living near the route must register for the program and request the pass for the Pittsboro service through UNC’s Department of Public Safety.

A federal grant is covering half of the cost of initiating the express route, which will also be supported by passenger fares. Chatham County and Pittsboro will cover the remaining cost for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. For this period, Chatham County has appropriated a maximum of $43,000 and Pittsboro has appropriated $24,000.

What is the total cost of the service?
State share: $176,356
Local share: $176,356 (Chatham County and Town of Pittsboro)
Total operating costs: $352,712 (18 months)

How fuel efficient is bus service?

Passenger miles per gallon (PMPG) is a metric to evaluate the energy efficiency of a vehicle.
The PMPG can be obtained by multiplying the miles per gallon of fuel (MPG) by the passenger capacity or average occupancy.

The US Transportation Energy Data Book states the following figures for Passenger transportation in 2006:
Transport mode - Average passengers per vehicle - Efficiency per passenger
Vanpool- 6.1 - 87 MPG
Motorcycles - 1.2 - 62 MPG
Rail (Commuter) - 31.3 - 38 MPG
Rail (Transit Light & Heavy) - 22.5 - 41 MPG
Rail (Intercity Amtrak) - 20.5 - 43 MPG
Cars - 1.57 - 33 MPG
Air - 96.2 - 35 MPG
Buses (Transit) - 8.8 - 27 MPG
Personal Trucks - 1.72 - 29 MPG

“The goal is for us to have enough passengers to ensure that we stay within budget,” said Lucier. “This means it is important to experience a steady growth in the number of passengers, even if it is not fast growth.”

Lucier did not provide any estimated ridership figures.

Blue and red Chapel Hill Transit signs will identify transit stop locations. Chatham County stops include Fearrington Village and two stops in Pittsboro:

In the circle around the Historic Chatham County Courthouse; and Lowe’s Home Improvement, 121 Lowe’s Drive, which includes a free park-and-ride lot.

The express bus makes three stops in Chapel Hill, including the UNC Parking Deck on Manning Drive, the Student Union and the State Employees Credit Union on Pittsboro Street. These stops provide access to the rest of Chapel Hill Transit’s network.

After the first week of free service, passengers not qualifying for the university’s CAP passes will pay $3.00 one way (exact change required) or they can buy a monthly pass for $65. Effective August 31, monthly passes will be sold at Chapel Hill Town Hall, Pittsboro Town Hall, and Piggly Wiggly in Pittsboro (386 East Street).

The schedule for the new express bus, called the PX Route, can be found on Chapel Hill Transit’s website at and also will be available on all transit buses starting August 19th.

Morning stops in Pittsboro range from 6:08 am to around 7:45 am, with Fearrington stops at 6:30 am to 8 am. The return times from Chapel Hill range from 4:40 pm to around 6:50 pm.

CHT will provide a guaranteed ride home program in emergencies between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on days when the PX service is operating. This means that pass holders can get a free ride to their homes or vehicles if an unexpected personal emergency occurs.

Chatham County residents also are encouraged to use the Chatham Transit Network for various transit needs. The network has three regularly-scheduled routes on weekdays from Siler City to Pittsboro to Fearrington to Chapel Hill. The schedules are not the sam, so Chatham Transit’s routes may be more convenient for some county residents. More schedule information can be found at:

For additional information about Chapel Hill Transit’s PX Route, contact a CHT customer service representative at 919... or visit

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