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NIGHTBUS COMETH

by Whitney Kenerly

whitney@yesweekly.com | @YesWeekWhitney

What does the young creative class really want in a city? They want a cool double decker bus to cart them from bar to bar!

At least that’s the idea behind a new endeavor from Director of the North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center at UNCG Justin Streuli, and local social entrepreneur Ryan Saunders. The team is trying to take elements of public transportation that have become the mark of a trendy urban lifestyle in other cities, and bring them to downtown Greensboro through the People’s Transit Bar Crawl, commonly known as the Night Bus.

“The point of doing this is to get the conversation started on what transportation means to people in GSO,” said Saunders.

Saunders’s organization, Create Your City, takes a DIY approach to shaping Greensboro into the kind of place where the hip and the talented want to be. Streuli is excited to bring something new to Greensboro in order to liven things up.

“There is nothing like it in Greensboro, I brought 15 of my friends and they couldn’t wait to get back on the next weekend,” said Streuli. “The biggest misconception that people have when they see bar crawl is that they think they have to get on at 9 pm and stay on all night but the concept is for it to be an easy and fun alternative for transportation rather than a more formal bar crawl.”

Initially, Saunders and Streuli envisioned using a basic party bus van, but after working with Royal Limousine Owner Victor Jones, they considered the possibility of using one of his red double decker buses. The somewhat over-the-top vehicle has added a new level of visibility for the project.

“When you’re up on the top [of the double decker bus] it gives you a whole other perspective,” said Saunders. “You feel like you’re in a real city.”

The Night Bus is currently trying to find the best route that will maximize the number of nightlife spots served while still keeping a consistent and reliable route.

According to Saunders, the Night Bus is working around four nightlife epicenters:

“The Corner” – The intersection of Walker and Elam “Elm Street Station” – Downtown Greensboro “Sonic Stop” – Jake’s on Spring Garden “Battleground Bars” – Battleground and Lawndale area Riders can pay $20 for a night of unlimited service, or $5 for a one-way trip. The ride not only ends up costing less than a cab, but also provides a fun experience.

The bus stays at each stop for about 5 to 7 minutes to allow people some time to get on and off the bus. The target audience for the night bus might consist of people who aren’t used to working around a bus schedule, so the cushion time is meant to be helpful.

“These first five weeks have sort of been the pilot – the soft launch to work out the kinks,” said Saunders.

As the word spreads Saunders has looked into working with complexes outside of the city to bring the Night Bus to areas around High Point, Jamestown, or Summerfield.

Eventually he would like to develop and app that works with a GPS system on the bus to deliver real time updates to riders. For now, people can check http://createyourcity.com for the weekly schedule.

With about 20 riders a night ranging in age from 22 to 28, the Night Bus is building momentum and Create Your City isn’t about to stop.

“I’ve got some concepts for events surrounding wine and restaurants to introduce the idea,” said Saunders.

Create Your City is also the organizer behind this weekend’s upcoming HopFest in the Boro on August 23.

The downtown beer festival not only features live music and food, but is also billed as an ideas and innovation festival with brainstorming activities and interactive booths. !

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