This week in transit: Buses could be coming to Chesterfield County!?


Big, big Chesterfield news, y’all! On May 22nd, the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors heard an update on the (potential) pilot program to bring public transportation to Route 1. You can listen to the entire presentation over on the Board's website (skip forward to 2:08:00). Some background: Chesterfield has applied to the State's Department of Rail and Public Transportation for 80% of the operating costs of running buses along Route 1 from the city limits to John Tyler Community College. That's about $2 million, for two years, renewable for an additional third year. That level of funding makes the total pilot program pretty dang affordable for the County.

As part of the process to kick off this pilot, the County worked with SIR to survey residents along the corridor to gauge the community's interest. The results were about as pro-transit as you can get: 75% of respondents felt like public transit would benefit the corridor and 30% said they'd be likely to use it.

Chesterfield's Director of Transportation Jesse Smith said the next step is to meet with GRTC and talk through some details, and, after that, service could start as soon as spring 2020! Very exciting.

One small caveat / thing to keep an eye on! Originially, the County was considering two different transit options for Route 1: Fixed-route service provided by GRTC, and a hybrid, on-demand service provided by a private company. Survey respondents overwhelmingly preferred the GRTC option, and, after listening to the presentation, it sure seems like the County has decided to move forward with GRTC.


Did you know that June 18th is Richmond’s Multimodal Day? Well, it is, and it’s a new initiative from the City’s Department of Public Works to encourage folks to get out of their cars while moving around the city. You’ve got a couple of weeks to plan for it, so mark June 18th on your calendar as a day to walk, bike, scoot, or take the bus to wherever you’re headed. You can sign the pledge form here.

Also, don’t forget about this week’s GRTC meetings! They’re your chance to weigh in on the City’s proposed bus service improvements on the Southside and in the East End:

  • Tuesday, June 4th, 5:30–6:30 PM; Southside Community Services Center Room A (4100 Hull Street Road)
  • Thursday, June 6th, 6:00–7:00 PM; East End Branch Library (1200 N. 25th Street)


Angie Schmitt at Streetsblog has an excellent article about the changing racial demographics of Detroit and Atlanta and how that’s having an impact on public transportation. A lot of this should sound familiar and applies to the Richmond region as well: “But Rochester Hills’s refusal to fund transit service of any kind can exert an especially brutal toll on low-income workers, like Robertson, who may need to commute into the suburb from other areas...In some of the wealthy, mostly white suburbs of Oakland County, north of Detroit, like Rochester Hills, refusing to allow transit service has a long, ugly history. Historically, a lack of transit helped maintain racial segregation.”

—Ross Catrow