Wayne County and Goldsboro have had a history with public transportation from their very beginning. Waynesborough was the early settlement situated on the Neuse River. It was on the river to facilitate trade and goods were easily moved by river. As railroads came on the scene, Goldsboro was located on the Wilmington to Weldon Railroad. At the time this was the longest railroad in the world. The railroad carried passengers and goods to and from our county. These were the very roots of public transportation. Goldsboro has seemed to have a yearning for public transportation for many years. In the early 20th century, downtown Goldsboro had trolley cars. The tracks are still visible in some places. In the late 1960s and early 1970s there was a move to start a public bus system but as a private enterprise. This failed but Goldsboro had several Cab Companies that thrived for many years until Gateway came on the scene.
Wayne Interagency Transportation (WAIT) was started around 1976. It was started by the Wayne County Commissioners to provide transportation for the human service agencies. At this time social workers were transporting clients in their private vehicles to medical appointments and other places they needed to go. WAGES, Wayne County Sheltered Workshop, Wayne Services on Aging and Wayne County Mental Health had their own vans they were transporting people to programs and places they needed to go. In the 1980s, the North Carolina Department of Transportation asked each county to put in a coordinated system of transportation for rural areas. Every agency turned in vans to start this coordinated system. In Wayne County, Wayne County Services on Aging became the lead agency. The County Commissioners appointed a local oversight board of both agency staff and private citizens. Some of these people were:
Louise Phillips – Services on Aging
John Chance – Private Citizen
Peggy Seegars – Private Citizen
Chuck Stone – O’Berry Center
Norman Ricks – Wayne County Finance Director
Gerald Grant – Wayne County Mental Health
Tootsie Farfour – Wayne County Sheltered Workshop
Bryan Sutton – WAGES
Carol Bender – Wayne Opportunity Center
Nina Pennington – Wayne County Health Dept.
Andy Anderson – Wayne County Commissioner
Julian Ezzell – Private Citizen
Tom Blum – Wayne County Health Dept.
Judy Pelt – Wayne Co. Dept of Social Services
Gwen Wilson – Wayne Co. Dept. of Social Services
Courtney Dickerson – A Rider of the System
Over the years, this became more of a public system. WAIT started transporting people where they wanted to go on a space available basis. This was to enhance revenue and keep costs to the agencies low. The WAIT system was originally run under contract with CTS Management Company. Mary Starling was the first Coordinator. In the early to mid-1990s, the WAIT Board decided to hire our own Director and run the system ourselves. We did this in an effort to keep cost low for the agencies and to control our administrative cost. We were successful at this. Agency rates were contained and the system started saving some money. In the mid 1990’s the City of Goldsboro was talking about starting a public bus system. In joint negotiations with the County of Wayne, the City of Goldsboro decided to apply for urban transportation funds to go along with the rural funds from the county and to form The Goldsboro Wayne Transportation Authority (Gateway). This system started operating in 2000 with three buses on the urban system and the vans from the old WAIT System. Raymond Smith, Jr. was the first Director of Gateway. Raymond directed both Gateway and WAIT at different periods as did Bob Wands. John Chance and Andy Anderson were two of the biggest proponents of public transportation on the WAIT Board but Andy Anderson as a member of the County Commissioners was able to sell them on public transportation.
In 2000 Gateway was formed with a seven member board. This board was appointed by members of the City Council and the Wayne County Commissioners. The majority rotated between the boards each year. One year the City Council made 4 appointments and the next year the commissioners made 4 appointments. The first Gateway Board Chairman was Tom Barwick. He along with Councilmen William Goodman, JB Rhodes and Community Affairs Director LaTerrie Ward were the first to serve from the City. Norman Ricks, Andy Anderson and John Bell served from the County. John Chance was appointed as an exofficio member. Over the years Don Chatman, Gene Aycock, Bob Waller and Jimmy Bryan served from the council. County appointees have included Pam Holt, Bruce Gates, and John Chance.
Over the years WAIT and Gateway have grown, run into some rough spots in the road but kept the wheels turning to meet needs of people in Wayne County. It has grown from a system to take people to agency programs and medical appointments to one people use for shopping, to get to work, get to meetings and events in the community and to meet basic transportation needs. The future for public transportation in Wayne County is bright. With the renovation of Union Station and the building of the Gateway Transfer Station. Wayne County has the potential to combine rail transportation, commercial buses and rural and urban buses into a system that can transport a person from anywhere in Wayne County to anywhere in the United States.
We are your gateway to the future.