Making "Regular" Buses Better in Raleigh

We have a lot of sub-conversations about specific ideas in the “future of transit” topic, so I figured it’ll help us stay sane if we brought together conversations specifically about “regular” buses into its own thread.

In the spirit of doing that: tomorrow, City Council will vote on moving around Raleigh’s transit tax funds as a condition of accepting federal help to upgrade four bus stops to have better amenities.

We know from the FY2022 work plan that there is some money that’s already allocated to design (and eventually build) the upgrades at four of these stops:

  • Falls of Neuse at Spring Forest
  • Hillsborough at Oberlin
  • Clark at Oberlin
  • Brier Creek Commons
  • Avent Ferry at Gorman
  • Wilmington at Pecan
  • Village District (formerly Cameron Village)

I’m not sure which of these four will be expedited with this grant, but it’ll still be nice to see some nicer bus stops even away from BRT lines!

There will also be a vote to sign a new 5-year contract where the city will have clearer separations of responsibilities with the multinational transportation company RATP Dev.

To be clear, we have several threads on similar topics. If you click here and find a topic that matches what you want to talk about, you should probably go there, instead.

Good information, thanks! I’m curious about how GoRaleigh services might change once the new operator takes over. I guess that means we’ll get a new tracking app too.

Also can’t wait until we get some renderings of the “upgraded” stations.


I like the idea of a thread dedicated to the one type of public transit we already have.


I’d love to see how those bus stops will be spruced up, too, but the grant approval’s language sounds to me like there’s many more unknowns that have to be figured out. …as if even the city doesn’t know, yet, which ones to start with. I’d be pleasantly surprised if we see any sheet drawings for those by the end of this calendar year.

I think there’s a more likely candidate for the first truly new, not-immediately-associated-with-BRT transit center that we’ll get to see pretty pictures of: North Hills.

When the Planning Commission reviewed Kane Realty’s request to upzone parts of North Hills last May, the developers agreed to set aside space for, among other things, a future bus station. Plus, both Wake County and NCDOT has already been saving money to buy property in FY2024 (which starts this July) and start construction in FY’25. This means, by this summer, the city should hopefully:

…such that they have enough information to begin some basic design work.


A BRT route up Wake Forest Rd then either Six Forks or St. Albans (probably the latter) would be very interesting to tie in these fairly unconnected but dense centers. I’d certainly frequent those areas much more then I do now since it’s either a drive or a looong walk.


Would that even help Kane rezoning request because if his is not approved it doesn’t make any sense to put one there. That area would be the most dense area in the city.

Yes, because it shows that Kane listened to the city when they asked him to do so last April so that it complies with the Midtown-specific section of Raleigh’s land use policies.

1 Like

So the more I’ve been investigating, the more I’ve been wondering about the real-time tracking apps for GoRaleigh/GoTriangle. NCSU WolfLine has always encouraged the use of TransLoc for real-time arrival information. After graduating and starting to utilize GoRaleigh & GoTriangle buses, I naturally continued to use TransLoc because it does also offer real-time info for those agencies. But, I don’t really like the app and also find it super unreliable at times.

Now, a fan favorite seemingly across the world is the Transit app, which, when I tried it initially, had the schedule and routes for all bus systems in the Triangle but no real-time data. However, after looking this week, it looks like some buses actually do; almost all WolfLines, some GoTriangles, and very few GoRaleighs, but still more than zero.

So this makes me wonder: what determines whether a bus has real-time data available on the Transit app (or any particular app, for that matter)? What’ll it take to get all bus systems relaying real-time location data to an app that is not TransLoc? After messaging GoRaleigh on Twitter, they even told me that their suggested source for real-time arrivals is their own, which I honestly quite like, but there is no mobile app and obviously it is only for GoRaleigh buses.

Curious if anyone here had any thoughts or any insider information.


I’ve loved the Transit app, too, since I started using it in the Triangle around 2016! For anyone who wants to replace their TransLoc app:

Thank God it’s an option here, too. TransLoc has had a stranglehold on the Triangle’s transit ecosystem ever since they became one of TransLoc’s first major users in 2014, back in its startup days (when Transit was still in its infancy, and Bloomberg thought they would be the shining star of mobility-as-a-service platforms).


Buses can have transponders that automatically transmits information on where they are. But some of them may be too old to transmit real-time GPS data that could be turned into something that apps can read, which means it doesn’t have anything that is physically capable of measuring where it is and sending that information. Software tricks like what Transit does to augment the Triangle’s machine-readable bus schedules can help subpar data be more accurate, but even then, you can only do so much when you don’t even have the data in the first place.

Looking at the bright side, at least Raleigh’s not struggling as much as Chapel Hill. Over here, our bus trackers don’t work at all because AT&T discontinued their 3G data service that they depended on.


Thanks for the info! I was looking at other agencies operated by RATP just for fun, and happened to poke around Asheville’s system (ART) on the Transit app. Not sure how good ART is in general, but I liked that every single bus had real time tracking. Would love for all the Triangle agencies to get on the same page as older buses get replaced; didn’t know that about Chapel Hill!

1 Like

Back to the original post in this thread I would vote for the “Wilmington at Pecan” pair of bus stops to receive some attention.

Located on Pecan just west of its intersection with Wilmington these two bus stops serve as a transfer point between the 7 route serving south Raleigh from the downtown station and the two 7L east-west busses that all meet up there for a rider exchange.

Street is wide enough to accommodate busses on both sides of the road and still allow two lanes of traffic. But it is chaotic with riders crossing to bus of choice. Also it is close to turning traffic from the intersection.

However the real danger to pedestrians is after dark as there is currently poor lighting in this area. The shelters sit in the dark and the street is lit by only a single nearby street light.

And as a further safety concern a “social club” of some type gathers nearby all day and into the night making the whole area feel unsafe for riders waiting for their bus.

Does not need a lot of infrastructure. But does need much better lighting, perhaps at a pedestrian scale supporting the shelter locations and bus stop area. Also probably a good idea to install visible security cameras.

And, as an aside, Pecan Street could stand to have its super-wide cross-section repurposed by paint into better defined driving lanes and “sidewalks” between those lanes and the curb lines. Lot of pedestrian activity on that street with no place to walk except the street.


Is Clark at Oberlin the same as Village District, or are these two different stops?

GoRaleigh now officially supports the Transit app (my favorite) and the UMO app for live bus tracking. Transloc will no longer work as their contract has terminated.


Transloc is (was) a local company and they were an early leader in integrated bus tracking, but once they were bought out by Ford, I got the distinct impression that improvements slowed down, then stopped, and then things started to get worse and worse.


Not long after Ford acquired them, Ford also bought DoubleMap and Ride Systems… then tried to get them to play nice with each other all under the TransLoc name. It didn’t work too well and the three companies, while merged, mostly continued to operate as three distinct entities. Various leadership teams tried their best to rectify this, but eventually the competition just advanced past them. Then COVID appeared and transit agencies all over the country took a big hit. That certainly didn’t help things. Eventually Ford sold TransLoc to Modaxo, a company that seems to just be snatching up transit-oriented businesses.


For the time being, I honestly believe that GoRaleigh and the city should start using a transit signal priority system to improve the time frequency of GoRaleigh buses. TSP is a system that allows bus drivers to extend traffic green lights when entering intersections.

It would obviously take a lot of political support but this is needed in order to increase the ridership numbers, revenue, and potentially attract more drivers.

I put this in the BRT thread a few days ago and think it applies to this thread. More info:



I just came back from a downtown walk and I saw two different buses extending the green lights by running through the red lights as they changed. It’s much cheaper this way.


Oh I like that term “extending the green lights”. I’ll keep that in my back pocket if I ever need to use it. It can be modified as well to “extending the speed limit”.


USDOT just announced some funding for zero/low-emission bus equipment for a whole bunch of transit agencies. Looks like GoTriangle is getting $1,672,000:

“GoTriangle will receive funding to buy charging equipment and modernize two bus facilities to support the agency’s zero emission fleet. Upgrades to the Raleigh Union Station Bus Facility in Raleigh, and the Nelson Road Bus Operations and Maintenance Facility in Morrisville, will allow GoTriangle to efficiently charge its expanding fleet of electric buses to maximize their time in service.”

Not sure exactly what this’ll mean for RUSBUS, maybe just some extra funds to install chargers in a few of the bays?

(Also of note: Charlotte is getting like $30M :flushed:)


That amount is horrible for two cities lacking infrastructure Charlotte already has. I’m glad GoTriangle received funding though.