Over the past month, Richmond's City Council has unanimously approved both RES. 2016-R092 (PDF) and ORD. 2017-022 (PDF). The former gives Council's formal approval to the basic concepts behind the Richmond Transit Network Plan, while the latter accepts $3,800,000 from the state for the plan's one-time implementation costs. With City Council's approval, the focus now moves to GRTC to do all of the actual work—and there's lots of work to be done! Routes have to be reprogrammed, drivers retrained, new signs put up, and education/awareness campaigns launched.
Luckily, lots of places have made this exact transition—from old-school bus system, to fancy frequent bus system—before, and here's the crazy thing: that switcheroo is usually done over the course of one night. You go to bed with one system, and wake up with another, new system! This coming May, Columbus, Ohio will this very thing!
As GRTC gets the ball rolling on implementing the Richmond Transit Network Plan, they will host a ton of public meetings. If you're a city resident, there's probably a meeting near you, and you should attend! Check out the RVA Rapid Transit website for a full list of meetings.
AROUND THE REGION
Rich Griset at the Chesterfield Observer has a good piece on the Chesterfieldians who ride the 64x Stony Point bus. The Richmond Transit Network Plan will reduce the number of trips this bus makes each morning and evening, and, as the article states, there are a lot of suburban commuters that rely on that bus to get to work. The article hints at this, but I'll state it explicitly: Chesterfield could kick in a couple bucks and keep the 64x on its current schedule.
If you ride the bus in the City and use any one of a number of lines on Broad Street, keep an eye out for bus stop changes that begin this weekend! In preparation for the Pulse, several bus stops will be moved or discontinued (because soon there will be a big, beautiful BRT station nearby). You can see a map of those changes here or a list of them here.
Indianapolis is also part of the "We hired Jarrett Walker + Associates to give us a network of frequent buses" group, but they've gone a step further and voted to expand their system with three BRTs and a bunch of frequent lines. Last week their City-County Council approved an income tax increase to fund the new system (which voters approved back in November). The new tax could bring in up to $54 million per year for transit!
How cool is this: An Atlanta transit advocacy group, the MARTA Army, will host an awards ceremony for MARTA employees. Riders can submit "kudos," and then a panel of judges will select a winner who'll "be awarded a Medal of Honor and a $50 Amazon gift card." This would be neat to see in Richmond!
Here's some not great news for low-density, on-demand transit services. Kansas City's Bridj system is a hybrid van, app-based ride hailing, shuttle thing that launched six months ago. The total ridership so far: 597. Yikes. This is a great example of how transit in low-density areas is just really, really hard to do successfully. Maybe now that there's all this press about the service's lack of success, people will know about it and use it more?