About a dozen riders a day are using a new bus service that connects riders in the Havelock area to Amtrak rail lines in Wilson, according to an Amtrak official.
The service was established in early October and links Morehead City, Havelock, New Bern and Greenville to Amtrak train connections in Wilson where riders can then travel across the country using the rail network.
Christina Leeds, media relations representative from Amtrak, said 357 passengers used the bus route from Morehead City to Wilson in December, which is an average of 11.5 passengers per day. Leeds said she was unable to break down specifically how many riders took the bus from Havelock as compared to any other city on the route.
Amtrak’s other Eastern North Carolina bus route from Wilmington to Wilson, which serves Jacksonville and Kinston, had 355 passengers in December.
"There is not a noticeable difference in ridership on certain days of the week," Leeds said.
She said the service is too new to determine if ridership will be enough for Amtrak to continue offering the bus routes.
"We are still working on building the service and will evaluate after a full year of service," she said.
The new bus line brings Amtrak train service to within 2 1/2 hours of Havelock. The bus arrives at the Havelock Tourist and Event Center at 10:49 a.m. and arrives in Wilson at 1:27 p.m. On the return trip, the bus leaves Wilson at 2:45 p.m. and is scheduled to arrive in Havelock at 5:26 p.m.
Tickets can be arranged by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL or going to the Amtrak website at www.amtrak.com.