Share the Ride

by | Jan 16, 2024 | Around Town, Onslow County

Onslow United Transit System offers a low-cost transportation option for residents of Onslow County.

In Onslow County residents have a low-cost option available for traveling to work, a doctor’s appointment or even to the beach. Since 1999 Onslow United Transit System, Inc. (OUTS) has operated an affordable county-wide transportation service that is safe, reliable and efficient.

Danny Ferucci, OUTS executive director, says that anyone who lives in Onslow County can ride. The service area covers the entire county including Camp Lejeune. OUTS also provides medical trips to Wilmington, New Bern, Kinston and Greenville.

“We have a daily tie-in with the Down East Express,” Ferucci explains. This takes passengers to the Raleigh-Durham area with a link up with Carteret County Area Transportation Service (CCATS).

Danny Ferruci Onslow NC Transit System

Fares for the Onslow area trips can be as low as $2 for a medical trip or for a trip to an area senior center. Employment trips are $4 each way, and general trips, such as to the grocery store, are $5 each way. Children accompanied by an adult can ride for $1 each way. Personal care attendants ride for free.

Ferucci, who has been with OUTS since January 2023, says that the number of trips is increasing significantly as word gets out about the opportunities available for county residents to get a ride. In August 2023, the service had a record 6,500 trips, which Ferucci says is “about 1,000 more than usual.”

Anyone who wants to get a ride on OUTS must first go to their website, which has recently been redesigned and updated, to complete a one-time application.

Ferucci points out that there has been an uptick in rider applications through the website, which indicates an increased interest in riding public transportation within the county.

Ferucci says OUTS is also increasing its community outreach to let everyone in Onslow County know that the service is available to them. They are working with a marketing firm, 17Blue, which developed their new website and will help them increase their social media presence as well.

Jacksonville NC Transit Station

Ferucci came to OUTS after retiring as a captain in the U.S. Army. A Jacksonville native who graduated from White Oak High School, he enlisted in the Army immediately after the attacks of September 11, 2001. He was commissioned after serving 11 years and retired after 21 years.

“I had a passion for serving that drove a big portion of my life,’ he says, adding that he knew when he retired from the military, he wanted to find a job where he could serve.

For more than 20 years, Carol Hurst Long, also a Jacksonville native, led the Onslow transit service. Long built the private nonprofit into a major transportation service that coordinates well with Jacksonville Transit and other area providers, including many community organizations. She now serves as a consultant for OUTS to continue contributing her expertise to its daily operations.

The service includes 20 vehicles, all of which are wheelchair accessible and operated by a team of dedicated drivers.

Ferucci says that there are many long-term employees in operations and administration.

“Everyone here has a passion for serving,” he says. “The drivers are courteous and there to help you.” He describes everyone at OUTS as “very professional.”

OUTS is a door-to-door service, meaning the drivers pick up riders at their door and deliver them to the door of their destination. It is a shared-ride service, but new planning software ensures that the trip is efficient for all riders.

Onslow NC Transit System

Plans include a feasibility study for a micro-transit service, which will be even more convenient for residents who are farther out in the county. For example, individuals living in Sneads Ferry or North Topsail Beach would have a local transit alternative for going to the beach or the grocery store.

Need a Ride?
Go to the OUTS website, onslowunitedtransit.org, to start the process by filling out an application.
Onslow United Transit System, Inc.
Office Location: 1300 N. Marine Boulevard, Jacksonville
onslowunitedtransit.org/

Questions about OUTS?
Contact them at (910) 346-2998

About the author

Pat Fontana

Pat Fontana

I am a business writer and communications workshop leader. My business, WordsWorking, and my recently published book, Talk to Me Like I’m a Human, focus on improving workplace communications, concentrating on the fundamentals of human interactions. I developed, write about and train on the concept of REAL Communications, encouraging others to communicate with Respect and Empathy, paying close Attention and Listening with intent. I can be reached at pat@words-working.net.