I can't really tell if they are seriously wondering how to make money from this thing:
In 2005, the town of Boone committed funding so that AppalCART could provide free service for in-town routes. At that time, annual recorded trips were at 652,000, Hughes said.
Fare-free service was wonderful, he said, because it “keeps things simple and keeps things moving.” But in the 11 years since then, ridership has increased to 1.8 million trips annually, and the town’s contribution has remained the same. ...
Although the transportation authority counts its growing ridership numbers as a success in helping decrease the number of vehicles on Boone’s streets and highways, its resources and equipment are experiencing growing pains, said Hughes.
Currently, routes Red, Teal, Blue, Gold, Pop 105, Orange and Purple are routinely full at peak times, according to AppalCART. ...
AppalCART is currently “maximizing state and federal funding” along with grants to continue and expand or replace aging buses, the letter stated. AppalCART is scheduled to replace nine buses over the next two years.
But capital grants do not fund additional bus drivers or operational expenses, and some state and federal transportation grants will remain at current levels or expire, said Hughes.
Hughes said the transportation authority is exploring alternative funding options and would like to work with ASU, the town and the county to develop a combined mobility plan to ensure routes and assets are being utilized fully and efficiently. N.C. State has a similar plan, he noted.
He added that analysis, ridership surveys and route improvements have not been completed in several years and that hiring a transportation planning consultant is a priority for AppalCART.
Let me make a suggestion: one way to raise additional money is to charge a fee for the service. A quarter a ride would generate $450,000 (assuming the demand curve is vertical). Is pricing off the table for some reason?