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Raleigh's free R-Line bus returns after a three-year hiatus

RALEIGH, North Carolina – Raleigh is bringing back the R-Line bus after a three-year hiatus.

Starting Sunday, people will now have easy and free access to key downtown destinations, including the state capitol, the convention center and the performing arts center.

The bus runs every 15 minutes Monday to Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.; 7:00 a.m. to 2:15 a.m. Thursday to Saturday; and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Raleigh introduced the bus route in 2009 to make it easier for visitors and residents to get around. In February 2021, operations were stopped due to low passenger numbers.

According to our news gathering partners at the News and Observer, this was a result of remote working and a lack of visitors during the pandemic.

The Raleigh Transit Authority told the News and Observer that it will decide when to reinstate the route based on a range of metrics that include downtown food and beverage sales and parking deck usage.

R-Lines' comeback was delayed even further as GoRaleigh struggled with a driver shortage, GoRaleigh spokeswoman Andrea Epstein told the News and Observer.

Other destinations along the route include the Raleigh train and bus station, the Wake County Justice Center, the Publix grocery store in Smoke Hollow, William Peace University, and the history and science museums.

Anna Harden

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