Back in February, representatives from community organization SpiritHouse addressed Durham's Human Relations Commission about Duke-centric route alterations
that had been made to the Bull City Connector, Durham's free bus that services downtown, Ninth Street, and Duke. Among other things, the new route cut service to Durham Station, a particularly important hub for those who rely on public transportation. The gist of their complaints was that the new route catered too much to Duke students and faculty at the expense of lower-income Durham residents in areas like east Durham and northeast central Durham.
Representatives from GoTriangle noted at the time that Duke had helped subsidize the service, so it made sense that Duke stops would be emphasized. Duke contributes a little more than a quarter of the Bull City Connector's annual costs.
On Monday, the HRC approved three recommendations to the Bull City Connector service. The first recommendation, which is general, states that the BCC should "focus on serving the Durham community, not just Duke." A report by an ad hoc committee on the HRC noted:
In 2015, before the change, over half (52%) of BCCC ridership earn less than $15,000 a year, 70% earn less than $25,000 a year. By comparison, GoDurham, in its December 2015 presentation to City Council highlighted people who now utilize the BCC, such as two individuals in West Village and Whetstone Apartments. A one-bedroom apartment in Whetstone rents for $1,137 a month (over $13,000 a year).
The HRC also recommended that service be restored at both Durham Station and the Trent Drive stop at Duke Hospital South.
The recommendations will go the Durham City Council for review.