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Apple Country restores stop at AVL

Riders board an Asheville city bus at the Asheville Regional Airport after getting off an Apple Country Public Transit bus. Riders board an Asheville city bus at the Asheville Regional Airport after getting off an Apple Country Public Transit bus.

Apple Country Transit has found a temporary fix for a bus transfer location that riders described as inconvenient and hazardous.

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The transfer stop for Apple Country and Asheville city buses was moved in May from the Asheville Regional Airport to a park-and-ride lot on N.C. 280. Riders told the Hendersonville Lightning that the change made it hard to take a bus to catch a flight and that the park and ride lot was isolated from the highway and potentially unsafe. The park-and-ride lot is eight-tenths of a mile and across N.C. 280 from the airport and no sidewalk connects the bus stop to the airport.
“It’s not the official transfer stop but we are stopping at the corner of Terminal Drive and 280, which is right next to the Triangle Stop,” said Matt Champion, Henderson County’s transportation planner. “But the official transfer is the park and ride.” With the new stop, riders going to and from the airport “don’t have to cross 280. I know that was the biggest issue.”
The county got an agreement from Triangle Stop owner Beau Waddell to allow the Apple Country bus to cut through the parking lot. The stop can’t be designated a transfer point officially because it is not handicapped accessible.
“What we’re going to do is work a little more with (director) Lew (Bleiweis) at the airport and the city of Asheville as well to see if we can find a better spot on the property for a more compliant ADA stop and then we’d consider putting in a shelter,” Champion said. “Basically all we would need to do is make a curb cut and then put a pad down so if someone was in a wheelchair they would be able to get to the stop safely and roll out safely.”
Henderson County Commissioner Michael Edney made a remark at a recent Board of Commissioners meeting about the unsafe walk from the park-and-ride lot to the airport.
“That’s a lot better for sure,” he said when told of the change. “I think that sounds good.” He said he would favor an ADA-compliant stop with a shelter. “Absolutely they need to do that.”