AROUND THE REGION
As part of a larger upgrade to their farebox technology, GRTC has started distributing a few of its new tap passes. Instead of swiping or inserting these passes, you simply tap them on top of the farebox. It may seem like a small improvement, but this speeds up boarding and thereby speeds up buses. Lucky students and faculty at VCU and UR can get a semester-long tap pass. For UR students this is free and y'all should take advantage of this immediately if you have not already. For VCU students, the cost is $100 per semester, which, while not free, is dang cheap. The regular cost for five months of unlimited rides is $300.
Richmond Magazine has a quick interview with newly-elected Henrico Supervisor Courtney Lynch. Check out this excellent quote: "Something Henrico needs is to continue forward on a path of regionalism and multiple jurisdictions working together. We have to address regional challenges. One of those is transit. The growing rate of poverty is another. A sign of progress locally is that Richmond is open to not being all about the car. More people are supporting bike lanes, sidewalks and safer streets and transportation that’s more accessible for all." One thousand times yes!
Speaking of transit in Henrico County, Supervisor Frank Thornton will hold a constituent meeting on Monday, January 8th at 7:00 PM (Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, 1440 N. Laburnum Avenue) to discuss transportation improvements including the Pulse.
Additionally, the Henrico Board of Supervisors will hold a two-day special retreat on Friday, January 12th and January 13th (PDF). They'll have departmental staff on hand and will discuss a ton of different things including transportation. While this meeting is open to the public, there most likely will not be an opportunity for public comment.
I continue to be impressed with Nashville's ongoing transit initiatives. This piece on Streetsblog lays out how their mayor has a short-term plan in place to increase ridership with smaller investments in good, basic bus service plus improved walking and biking infrastructure. This then builds to some major improvements like BRT and light rail.
After a failed regional transit funding initiative in 2016, leaders in Detroit are working together to come up with a new regional transit plan. It's amazing what the Amazon HQ2 RFP has done to get politicians excited about regional public transit.