***Our next step for the SmartRide campaign is to participate in the community engagement process for the Wake Transit Plan Update, which has been slightly delayed and will now occur May - mid-June. In the meantime we have created this summary of our campaign to remind you of our progress and shared commitments***

Transportation Team / SmartRide Update

The ONE Wake Transportation Team has been organizing and taking action since last fall with the primary goal of continuing and expanding the popular SmartRide microtransit program that provided 13,000 rides to low income residents in eastern Wake County last year.

The reason: despite its popularity, the future of SmartRide was uncertain, as the program had been funded by a federal grant that is set to expire at the end of June 2024.  

Our campaign has included a number of research meetings, conversations with elected officials and transit planners, and a 100+ person non-partisan Zebulon Town Commissioner candidate assembly last October that centered the continuation of the SmartRide program as a top election issue.

Earlier this year the Transportation Team met to celebrate a significant update: the Zebulon Board of Commissioners met in January and unanimously approved a resolution to continue the SmartRide program at current levels of service, in partnership with Wendell, Knightdale, and Wake County, through the Wake Transit Community Funding Areas Program. This represents a continuing investment of close to $538,000 and will ensure the program continues once the federal grant expires.

You can watch the recording of the meeting here.

This is great news, and the Zebulon Board of Commissioners deserve credit for making this decision! However, continuing the program is only half the battle. As we know, the demand for SmartRide exceeds the current capacity of the program. Expansion of the program will be necessary, but the capacity of Zebulon and Eastern Wake Towns to afford expansion is limited.

Increased investment from the Wake Transit Plan is necessary in order to substantially expand the SmartRide program. The Wake Transit Plan is funded by a 1/2 cent sales tax which was approved in 2016, and currently the plan has a operating and capital fund balance exceeding $500 million.

This year, the Wake Transit Plan will be undergoing a significant update to determine how best to allocate resources moving forward. This process will involve a public engagement period in April to help shape priorities. This represents a major opportunity for Eastern Wake leaders and their supporters across the County to advocate for increased funding for programs like SmartRide.

Next Steps

In January, the Transportation Team ratified a strategy to organize participation in this public engagement process. Specific dates for public workshops and other engagement events will be made available soon. This process has been slightly delayed, however, we anticipate learning the dates shortly. 

In the meantime, all who support the expansion of SmartRide in Eastern Wake are asked to do the following:

1) Participate in one or more of the public engagement events in May - June;
2) Bring 2 people with you to one or more public engagement events.


Please find below sample language for newsletters / conversations to help you identify two other people who want to help support this campaign:

How would you spend half a billion dollars? This year all Wake residents will have a say in how to spend hundreds of millions in taxpayer funding for public transportation projects across the county. This is an especially important conversation for residents of Eastern Wake who want to expand transportation options like the popular SmartRide program which serves over 13,000 rides per year to help residents connect to grocery stores, medical appointments, and social services.

We need your voice! Please tell _______________ if you want to participate in public engagement on this issue, which will occur in April and May. Our goal is to get at least 100 Eastern Wake residents and their supporters involved.

More information is available here: https://www.onewake.org/smartride