If you are headed to downtown Raleigh be sure to check out the free R-Line Circulator Bus. This free bus service loops around downtown connecting the central business district and its ample parking with the restaurants, bars, and venues along Glenwood Avenue South and the lower portion of downtown by the new Convention Center and Moore Square.
The two bus system runs loops every 15 minutes with multiple stops at points of interest along the way (map). Hours of operation for the service are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 7 a.m. to 2:15 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. While the stops aren’t very far apart, make sure you know which one is closest to you final destination. The bus will not just stop just anywhere for you (I’ve seen people ask and get denied).
My wife and I took the bus a few times this past summer when we were visiting downtown to attend concerts in Moore Square. It was really easy finding a place to park in the big vacant government building lots along Peace Street and take the quick bus ride down to Moore square were parking can be tight and cost you a few dollars. It is also kind of fun to ride because you essentially are getting a mini-tour of downtown Raleigh and meet other folks who are out for a night on the town.
According to a recent news and observer article the R-line carried over 150,000 passengers between its inception last February 13, 2009 and December 5, 2009. While it may not be used as often as it could, I think this is a step in the right direction for downtown Raleigh and a sign of more good things to come. I’ll see you on the bus!