AROUND THE REGION
Big bus news this past week: GRTC has hired Julie Timm as their new CEO. Timm most recently served as the Director of Development for Nashville’s transit agency and previously worked with nearby Hampton Roads Transit. It is, of course, an exciting time for public transportation in the Richmond Region, and it’s fantastic to hear that GRTC has found someone to lead them through their next stage of growth toward a frequent and far-reaching regional transit system. Timm will get started in Richmond at some point next month.
What kind of impact did Henrico adding nights and weekend service to their major bus lines have on ridership? Now that we’re deep into summer—almost a year after those changes—we can dig into ridership data and learn a few things. One thing that’s abundantly clear is that if you make transit more useful more folks will use it. Increasing the span of bus service allows all sorts of trips that were impossible before: Afternoon shifts, evening errands, Saturday jobs, and more. See if you can spot the point at which the county added more service to the #91 and #7A/B:
Greater Greater Washington’s new Virginia Correspondent, Wyatt Gordon, has a good look back at the last couple of years of transit progress in Richmond—it even features this familiar (and depressing) table of spending on public transit in Richmond and among our peer cities. We’ve got a lot of work to do if we want a truly frequent and far-reaching transit system for our entire region, but, dang, we’ve made some progress and have some momentum!
In the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Bill Lohmann has a story about Thyraellis Howard, a woman who commuted from the East End to Innsbrook to finish up her education—that’s a trip that takes a couple buses and a 2-mile bike ride. These sorts of stories are supposed to be heartwarming examples of resiliency, and they are, but they also point out the limitations of our existing transportation network. Trips from the East End, where tons of people live, to Innsbrook, where tons of jobs exist, shouldn’t be this hard.
Do you want to drive a bus? GRTC is hiring operators, and maybe that’s you?
This story in the New York Times about segregation and highway-building in Atlanta almost exactly mirrors what played out in Richmond during the 1950s and 60s.