Some Jacksonville transit riders upset over lack of service to Bell Fork community

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Some Jacksonville residents are unhappy.

They claim the city transit system is ignoring black communities. City leaders said that’s simply not the case.

A transit stop at the intersection of Cole and Hargett streets is one of the proposed solutions for servicing the Bell Fork community.

Jacksonville transit currently runs on two lines across the city.

But some residents living in the historically black Bell Fork community say that there are no bus stops within their neighborhood. The closest stop for them is at the intersection of York and Hargett streets, less than a half mile away from some of the homes.

City officials say the current routes are set up to be the most efficient and follow a general trend across the city.

“When you run a fixed route bus system like that, you can’t afford to run through every neighborhood,” said Ron Massey, Deputy City Manager. “Otherwise, it would take forever for people traveling on the bus to get to their destination. So we generally keep the buses on the main thoroughfares when possible.”

To better service the nearly 130,000 riders each year, the city is adding a new line, hopefully, by March.

The orange line will put a stop at the entrance to the Bell Fork community at Cole Street and Hargett Street.

It will also service Country Club Road.

The city said it would be impossible to go door to door for every rider but that the para-transit service will pick you up if you make a reservation and qualify for it.

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