This week in transit: Can you believe it? It’s been a year!


This coming Tuesday at the ICA (601 W. Broad Street) from 8:00–9:45 AM, join us, Chamber RVA, and the folks from the Greater Washington Partnership to celebrate all of the transportation success Richmond has seen over the last 12 months. You can expect breakfast, an opportunity to have some transit chats, remarks by VCU President Rao, and a panel featuring the Mayor, Jennifer Mitchell (from the Department of Rail and Public Transportation), and Gary Armstrong (from the GRTC Board of Directors).

The event is free and open to the public, but please RSVP so we have an idea of headcount. See y’all there!


Can you believe it? This coming Monday is the one-year anniversary of the Pulse and the entire redesign of Richmond’s bus network. Since then we’ve seen ridership increase, VCU buy into the system, new fare payment options, bus service expansion in Henrico County, additional money for transit in the Mayor’s budget, and hints of public transportation coming to Chesterfield County. That’s a lot of transit progress, and we have a lot of transit momentum—which is great, because there’s still a ton of work left to do. You can read GRTC’s anniversary press release here which has some neat stats and facts about the Pulse one year later.

This past week, the folks who redesigned Richmond’s bus network released a memo detailing errors in methodology and calculations in a report put out by VCU’s Center for Urban and Regional Analysis (PDF). The original report claimed, among other things, that after the redesign 22% fewer lower-income dwelling units were within 1/4 mile of a bus stop. The new memo found that only 2% fewer lower-income dwelling units were within 1/4 mile of a bus stop—and, of course, good public transportation is about more than proximity to a bus stop. In fact, the memo notes that, with the new bus network, the average resident can access 6% more jobs in 45 minutes while the average lower-income resident can access 10% more jobs in that same time period. You can read a bit more about the memo, the original report, and GRTC’s response over on the RVA Rapid Transit website.

Earlier this month, the Richmond Free Press ran a Letter to the Editor asking for all GRTC stops to have benches (and other amenities) installed (see below for some more thoughts on that!). This past week, RVA Rapid Transit boardmember Nicholas Smith wrote a follow up Letter to the Editor about how if we want more amenities at more bus stops—which, of course we do—we need to ask our elected officials across the region for more money for more bus stops.


An analysis out of Wayne State University looked at the distribution of bus stop shelters across Detroit’s bus network and found that better placing the shelters could “roughly double the amount of time bus riders in Detroit spent in sheltered waiting environments daily, from 63,000 minutes a day to about 111,000.“ In fact, “by moving existing bus shelters to better-used stops, the Detroit Department of Transportation could increase the number of people who have access to shelters by 817 percent.” Whoa. After Richmond’s bus network redesign, I’d love to see a similar look (additionally taking into account race and income) at where bus stop amenities exist now and where they’re most needed.

—Ross Catrow