Last week, Mayor Levar Stoney introduced his budget for the next couple of years, and one of the headlining items was free, unlimited bus passes for high school students in Richmond Public Schools! This is excellent news, and something for which we’ve advocated for a while now. Giving students access to public transit increases the size of their functional world, and allows them to reach internships, jobs, and the region’s cultural resources. It also builds a community of lifelong bus riders.
However, our work here is not done! The budget now heads to City Council where they will deliberate the details and eventually pass the thing on or before May 31st. Please take a moment and email your City Council member and ask them to support giving high school students free, unlimited bus passes. You could also drop the Mayor a thank you, too, while you were at it.
You can read the Mayor’s full remarks on his budget here (PDF).
P.S. This coming Tuesday, March 13th, some of us will gather at the Henrico Board of Supervisors meeting to express our support for expanding public transportation in the County. If you’d like to like to join us, just reply to this email and I’ll get you pointed in the right direction. It’s easy: All you have to do is sit quietly and look supportive! As an added bonus, Henrico officials will introduce their budget that night, so you’ll get first look at what’s next for public transportation in the county.
AROUND THE REGION
This coming Friday, March 16th, is Transit Driver Appreciation Day! You should already be saying thank you to your operators, but maybe say it extra enthusiastically on Friday. If you would like to specifically recognize an outstanding operator, you can let GRTC Customer Service know!
Have y’all seen these videos from GRTC about the coming changes to the bus network (aka the Richmond Transit Network Plan)? They’re really well done and give a great, non-transit-nerd overview of what to expect. Share them widely with folks you know who are interested in the Pulse but maybe not aware of other exciting changes on the way.
I keep seeing articles about these rubber/plastic bus bulbs, and I keep thinking they’d be great for congested areas in Richmond like Carytown. These super-cheap curb extensions keep the bus from merging in and out of traffic and speed up things for everyone using the street. Plus they require exactly zero concrete, so they’re quick to install. Did I mention they’re super cheap? Here’s the National Association of City Transportation Officials on the benefit and design of bus bulbs, if you want to dig into the details.
A tale of two cities! First, read this piece from TransitCenter about how Atlanta is moving towards more regional transportation and more regional transportation funding. Next, read this piece about Detroit’s failed transportation funding referendum and the collapse of regional talks. The Richmond region will start having its own conversation about regional transportation funding soon—maybe sooner than we think—and it’d be great for it to go more like Atlanta’s than Detroit’s.
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