This week in transit: Getting ready to ride


As we get closer and closer to the launch of the Pulse and our entirely redesigned bus network, you’ve probably started to see evidence that things are nearing completion. The first Pulse station totem sign was installed at Willow Lawn the other day, and the new bus stops required by the network redesign are rolling out across the city (see above). It’s really happening!

The Washington Post has an opinion piece about how the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is likely to secure dedicated transit funding from D.C., Virginia, and Maryland (finally). WMATA’s scale is of course much larger than anything that we’d build in Richmond, but I hope the basic principles that convinced legislators from around the region to work together will still hold true down here: “their constituents, especially younger ones, value public transit more than ever.”

The Richmond Times-Dispatch has a profile of RoundTrip, an on-demand transportation service that focuses on getting folks to and from medical appointments. RoundTrip works with GRTC to support their existing CARE service with this on-demand technology. Improving access to public transportation for people with disabilities is important work, and the more we can do to make regular, fixed-route public transportation more accessible (which is not always going to be possible for everyone) the better. Compared to a fixed-route bus, demand response service can costs GRTC three to four times more per passenger trip (PDF). If we can get fewer people using demand-response service (again, it is very important, and required by federal law, to continue to provide that service for those that need it) we can free up funding for more fixed-route service that can benefit everyone.


Speaking of, here’s a good piece about how Nashville’s proposed public transportation plan will improve service for the community’s disabled population. From the article: “These individuals have a wide range of medical conditions, ranging from autism to Down syndrome to a growing aging population with Alzheimer’s. Most of these individuals are dependent on public transportation to take them to work, school or places of worship, all of which are crucial elements of living independently and being a vital part of their community.”

Next City and TransitCenter both have articles up focusing on transit safety—specifically about how to reduce the harassment women can experience when they use a public transportation system. The Next City article offers these solutions to make systems safer for women (which has the effect of making them better for everyone): invest in infrastructure like lighting and reliability, make it easy to file a complaint, and increase public awareness about “how the experience of a woman traveling in a city is unique from that of a man.”

Check out this awesome quote from the CEO of Pittsburgh’s Port Authority: “Transit is a human right and it’s a civil right...Everything in our city and everything in our region is dependent on you being able to access it.” True!

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—Ross Catrow