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City plan to speed bus service introduced; public input requested

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RICHMOND, Va. – After a year of input and planning, a draft of a recommended transit network that retools bus service in the city was unveiled Tuesday.

The Richmond Transit Network Plan is a study that began in January 2016 to analyze the current GRTC Transit System bus network in the city and reconsider the design of the bus routes in the context of a changing city and the new Pulse Bus Rapid Transit.

The plan is intended to take advantage of the Pulse’s backbone and consolidate some of the bus lines that run down Broad Street right now, and to free up hidden capacity in the system by spacing out the bus stops.

GRTC riders and the public were surveyed ahead of the draft.

A huge takeaway for the transit planners was that a majority of bus riders preferred a short wait over a longer walk to a bus stop.

The redesign will focus on shifting the budget towards high-frequency network to increase ridership, versus spending the budget to cover low-ridership places.

Proposed draft

Proposed draft

The first draft of the plan shows that if it were implemented, the numbers of residents within a half-mile of a bus route operating every 15 minutes would increase from 36,000 to 114,00.

However, the number of people who live within a half-mile of a bus line would drop by 1,000 people, from 197,000 to 196,000.

Designers said that very few people are being left out.

Another part of the redesign would include consistent frequencies for buses arriving and easier schedule for riders to understand.

Some bus routes might change, but users will still have service.

northside

For example, the Crestwood/Westbrook route that currently operates every 45-60 minutes would disappear, to be combined with another route. However, riders could utilize another route, the VUU to Azalea route operating every 30 minutes and eliminating certain stops while adding new ones.

There is an interactive map online to help stakeholders understand how much of the city they could access using the existing system and the recommended network. Click here to access that.

There will be a series of eight meetings to get public feedback on the proposed draft. The content of each meeting will be the same.

The meetings are:

  • January 18, 12-2pm, Main Public Library Auditorium 101 E Franklin St
  • January 18, 6-8pm, DMV Central Office, 2300 W Broad St
  • January 19, 6-8pm, VCU Sports Medicine Building, 1300 W Broad St
  • January 21, 12-2pm, Peter Paul Development Center, 1708 N 22nd Street
  • January 24, 6- 8pm, Calhoun Center (Gilpin Court), 436 Calhoun Street
  • January 26, 6- 8pm, Partnership for Families Northside, 800 W Graham St
  • January 30, 6- 8pm, Hillside Court Community Center, 1500 Harwood St
  • January 31, 6- 8pm, Southside Community Services Center, 4100 Hull St

A document of the draft as presented on Tuesday, Jan. 17, is here.  

Officials are still discussing if the redesigned network would be introduced at the same time as the BRT Pulse.

Read more about other proposed transit plans, here.