Public Transportation

Catawba Re-Route 2021


WPCOG is assisting Greenway Public Transportation on a recently launched community-led effort to re-design their fixed-route bus system. Branded "Catawba Re-Route 2021," the year-long project will follow a community-led process to recommend the first potential bus system overhaul in at least ten years. The project will involve current riders, as well as community stakeholders, like area non-profits, major employers, and local governments. To learn more, visit the project web page at:


The project will explore bus route changes within Hickory, Conover, and Newton, as well as expansion scenarios beyond these cities. Now through October, the project seeks public input on where bus service is needed, plus other ways to improve bus service. To provide your input and share with others in your community, visit the initial survey at:


After compiling survey results and other comments, several route scenarios will be evaluated. These will include cost-neutral options for existing funding partners, plus optional scenarios for potential new partners. These alternatives will then go back out to the public for comment to help inform the preferred scenario to tentatively be adopted in spring 2021. The end goal is to implement a newly enhanced system in summer 2021.


Western Piedmont Leads the Way


Officials in Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba counties along with the municipalities of Hickory, Newton, and Conover passed resolutions to create a regional transit authority. Called Greenway Transit, the organization is the first regional public transportation authority with consolidated urban-rural transit service in the state.


The transit authority assumed the operations of the rural and urban transit systems in the four-county region, collectively known as the Unifour, on July 1, 2008. The following four service providers were consolidated:


  • Alexander County community transportation provided by Alexander County Transportation, a county-operated system;

  • Burke County community transportation provided by Burke County Transit Administration Inc., a nonprofit agency;

  • Caldwell County - community transportation provided by Caldwell County Area Transit System Inc., a nonprofit agency;

  • Catawba County Piedmont Wagon Transit System, operated by the city of Hickory, which provides community transportation to county residents and fixed-route service for the cities of Hickory, Newton, and Conover.


The authority's story began in 2001 when Caldwell County Area Transit System applied for a planning assistance grant on behalf of Unifour. The funding, awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Community Transportation Association of America in 2002, made possible a feasibility study, completed by consultants RLS and Associates in 2004.


From feasibility to implementation, the project moved forward in 2005 when Hickory used federal Section 5307 planning funds, combined with state matching funds from the NCDOT Public Transportation Division, to finance the implementation study. The city contracted with the KFH Group to complete the study, and work was initiated in May 2006.


The Western Piedmont Council of Governments served as facilitator for the project. A study committee regularly met and guided the progress of the Regional Transportation Implementation Plan.  Additionally, each county conducted meetings and public hearings. The project had support early on from the transit directors and their transportation advisory boards.


For more information contact:


Greenway Transit 
1515 4th Street SW
Conover, NC 28613
tel (828) 464-9444
fax (828) 466-0570


For statewide information, contact:

NCDOT Public Transportation Division

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Western Piedmont Local Coordinated Plan - Update


Thank you to those who participated in the input workshop and completed the survey. If you attended the workshop or filled out a survey, please complete the following survey regarding strategies for accomplishing the unmet needs:


First, review the information gathered at the workshop. A link to the spreadsheet is found here.


Then, complete the following survey.

The Western Piedmont Council of Governments shall serve all local government members in Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba Counties with professional, cost-effective assistance on a variety of local, regional, state and federal issues and programs.

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Telephone: ​828.322.9191

Fax: 828.322.5991

Mailing: P.O. Box 9026 | Hickory, NC 28603
Location: 1880 2nd Avenue NW
Hickory, NC 28601

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