The Dare County Transportation System—which provides curb-to-curb, ride-by-appointment transportation services to residents and visitors of the Dare County community—has announced the purchase of three new vehicles that were recently added to its fleet.
The new vehicles, which arrived in Dare County earlier this month, are 2022 Ford X2C eight-passenger transit vans equipped with wheelchair lifts and are capable of commuting up to eight passengers without wheelchairs or up to two wheelchair riders at a time. In addition to being a few inches lower on the inside than the models they recently replaced, the new vehicles are also slightly shorter and significantly more fuel efficient than their predecessors, according to Dare County Transportation Program Supervisor Radcliff Hester.
“One notable difference in our new vans is the ‘start/stop’ feature that automatically shuts the engine off when the van is idle for extended periods of time,” said Hester. “This will help us to save on fuel costs, which helps the county’s budget operate more efficiently.”
The Dare County Transportation System currently has a fleet of nine transit vans, including one minivan, that are operated by grants from the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) as well as funding provided by Dare County. The three new vans that were purchased have replaced three older-model transit vans previously operated by the Dare County Transportation System in order to comply with the NCDOT’s grant funding requirements.
The vehicles are operated by two full-time drivers and 17 part-time drivers who provide the residents and visitors of Dare County with an affordable option for reliable transportation to any location within Dare County, as well as medical-only trips for appointments in numerous neighboring communities.
“The mission of Dare County Transportation Services is to provide high-quality transportation services to the people who live in or visit Dare County,” said Hester. “We provide in-county trips for medical, personal, recreation, employment, nutrition and many other types of appointments. We also provide out-of-county trips (for medical appointments only) to Elizabeth City, Greenville, Chapel Hill, Duke University, Chesapeake/Virginia Beach, Norfolk and the veterans hospital in Hampton.”
Although the Dare County Transportation System provides rides to anyone in need of transportation services, Hester reminds members of the Outer Banks community that reservations must be made at least 48 hours in advance.
“We are not taxi service. In fact, we are not allowed to compete with private transportation services, such as same-day providers like taxi and shuttle van services,” said Hester. “A lot of people call us and want a ride the same day. Unfortunately, we require a minimum of 48 hours notice to schedule ahead of time. All appointments are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.”
Those who take advantage of the Dare County Transportation System’s services by scheduling a ride in advance, however, save a considerable amount of money compared to the costs that would be incurred through the use of private transportation services.
“People should take advantage of our service because we provide a real bargain for travel—for most any purpose—both in-county and out-of-county (for medical trips only),” said Hester. “One-way in-county trips are $3 per passenger or $6 for a round trip. Out-of-county medical trips are $7 for a one-way trip or $14 for a round trip. If people buy a book of 10 tickets in advance they also receive a 15 percent discount, and U.S. veterans with Dare County veterans ID cards can ride for free.”