$110 per round-trip commute. That’s what taxpayers are paying to subsidize riders of the Johnston County Express. The Express is a bus service established to help alleviate traffic headaches for commuters during the Fortify 40/440 project. But high costs and low ridership have turned this service into Civitas’ Waste of the Week.
The Express has proved to be very costly. As shown in the chart below, for the 12 months ending November 2014 (the latest data available) the total cost was $519,984 to serve 8,780 riders – which comes to an average cost per rider, per trip of $59.22.[i]
Meanwhile, the fare for riders comes to $3.00 a trip, which means that taxpayers have been subsidizing each rider to the tune of more than $55 for each one-way trip. For each rider’s daily round-trip commute on the Express, taxpayers are paying about $110.
And at such a great expense, the Express has done nothing to ease the traffic snarl of the Fortify project. Most months the Express bus averages around 2 riders per trip. If anything, adding a 40-foot bus with an average of 2 passengers traveling back and forth to downtown makes traffic worse.