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GRTC rolls out bus rapid transit plan

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RICHMOND, Va. -- In just two years, commuters in Richmond will have the option to take a faster ride down Broad Street. On Tuesday night, the Greater Richmond Transportation Company showed off its plans for the GRTC bus rapid transit.

"It's going to be a game changer for the region," said David Green, GRTC’s CEO.

A group of community members listen to learn how the GRTC Bus Rapid Transit will move the city forward.

"This is the first step in improving transportation," Green said.

The system won't use trains or tracks--but the new buses are expected to run 65 percent faster than the current ones.

They'll use exclusive lanes down Broad Street--a 7.6-mile stretch from Willow Lawn to Rockets Landing--with dozens of stops in between.

"It's a wonderful option for Richmond," said. Green

Richmonder Maritza Pechin is on board.

"People are wanting to travel less by car," Pechin said.

This would give those people that option and project coordinators say the ride won't cost customers more than they pay now--and it's expected to attract new riders--like Maritza.

"I would use this. I don't currently ride the bus, because I work from home," said Pechin.

But, she says she'd like a longer route in the future.

"So 7.6 miles is a good start, but you're hoping it expands more? Yes, I hope it expands into the counties especially Chesterfield," Pechin explained.

An idea, project coordinators say, they too hope to see--to move the entire region ahead.

"We'd ultimately like to do us improve mobility for people throughout the area and connect people to jobs, medical appoints groceries and that type of thing,” Green said.

Another concern brought up Tuesday night was parking. The GRTC Bus Rapid Transit would cost the city hundreds of parking spaces along Broad Street. Project coordinators say they are taking the concern into consideration.

The new system is being paid for through federal grant dollars and with state and local funding.

It's expected to be finished by October of 2017.