Gastonia pivoting from bus routes to microtransit in July 2024 (WCNC)

Transit in Gastonia is set to pivot from fixed bus routes to on-demand microtransit in 2024 with the approval of a new contract by the Gastonia City Council.

On Wednesday, the city government announced the council had approved a 36-month contract with River North Transit to provide the new service to riders. It’s set to launch on July 1, 2024, and is expected to cost $1.65 million in the contract’s first year.

“They offer the best balance between convenience and cost effectiveness, for both the transit agencies, the cities, and the passengers that provide them,” Eric Zaverl, the Urban Design Specialist for Sustain Charlotte, said.

But Zaverl says there can be a downside to this form of transit. “I think replacing all your traditional bus routes with micro transit could result in more vehicle trips and increased traffic and congestion,” Zaverl, said.

Zaverl also states it’s critical to not leave certain populations behind who rely on public transit. “Make sure that it’s actually being effective and it’s not contributing in a negative way.”

Watch the WCNC report.