by JEFFERSON WEAVER
Just a month into its year-long trial run,
the Wilmington-to-Charlotte bus line now
stopping in Whiteville is popular among
“We had no idea it would go over this well,”
said Billy Ray Rhyne of Horizon Coach Lines.
The company provides the Queen City Coastal
connector, stopping in Whiteville twice a day.
For around $40, customers can be in either
city in just a few hours, on a modern coach
equipped with wifi and modern seats.
“This isn’t the bus I grew up cleaning,”
Rhyne said. Having worked in bus lines since
he was a child, Rhyne said the Whiteville route
is turning out to be one of the most popular
connector runs he has ever seen.
“We have been really impressed,” he said,
”and this is the summer time—we expect to
see even more this fall.”
Rhyne pointed out that he foresees a lot of
weekend travel by college students this fall,
as well as tourists and people traveling to see
family during the holidays.
“Using the Queen City Connector,” he said,
“you can travel to anywhere you want from
right here in Whiteville.
The line connects with Greyhound, which
Rhyne says goes to all the continental United
States and Canada.
“We see a lot of truck drivers riding the
bus, students, people who are looking for an
efficient, reasonably priced way to travel,” he
said. ”It’s a good deal. You can leave Wilmington
in the morning, and be in the mountains
by that night, then be back in
Wilmington by the next night,
with plenty of time in between.”
Pre-purchasing tickets is
encouraged, Rhyne said. Tickets
can be purchased online at www.
greyhound.com, at stations
along the route, or in the case
of Whiteville, at the Columbus
County Transportation office,
when the bus arrives.
“You could get a ticket as
long as your arm, and go anywhere
you wanted,” he said.
“It’s really a nice way to travel,
if you have the time.”
The bus route is a cooperative
effort between Horizon Coach
Lines, Greyhound, and the N.C.
Department of Transportation
mass transit initiative.
Unlike the lines of 30 and 40
years ago, the Queen City Coastal
is not designed to get workers
to and from Wilmington.
“This isn’t a commuter line,”
Rhyne said, ”but it’s an efficient,
comfortable way to travel. We
just appreciate the support Columbus
County has shown us in
this venture. I had no idea for
sure if it would work, but this
has been phenomenal.”
For schedules and tickets,
call (704) 509-1725 or go online