AROUND THE REGION
Mark Robinson in Richmond Magazine writes about Richmond Public School's open-enrollment transportation policy. Basically, if you decide to open-enroll you've got to provide your own transportation, and, for some students, that means riding the bus—like, the GRTC bus. It also means that students and their families need to foot the nearly $300 bill for the 36 weeks of GRTC fare cards (by the way, if you're in this situation, make sure you look into the reduced-fare pass for minors!). Lots of cities around the world provide their students with bus passes. This not only helps students get to school, but opens up access to the rest of the city's resources—jobs, internships, medical appointments, movie theaters, museums, and a million other things. It's definitely something Richmond should start thinking about!
Venessa Remmers at the RTD covers the Northern Jefferson Davis Corridor Plan I talked about last week. While that plan doesn't include much in the way of immediate public transit, it's great to read this quote from principal county planner Jimmy Bowling, "There is a need for transit in this area because a lot of people don’t drive cars." Heck yeah! Let's start with hourly, fixed-route, local service, seven days a week, from the city limits to John Tyler.
How awesome is this Build Your Own Transit System tool from Denveright? Unless you've got an infinite budget, any transit decision involves trade-offs, and this tool does a great job illustrating that.
I enjoyed this letter to the editor in The Columbus Dispatch. As regions grow they must "realize the need for an extensive transit system to attract and retain businesses and residents and provide a quality of life not solely dependent on the car."
This is a good idea and a great way to generate some empathy in folks: Get a group of public defenders to ride the bus to all of the appointments / services that their clients must keep. It can be quite a challenge, turns out.
Detroit launched their Q-Line, a privately funded streetcar, this week. TransitCenter takes the opportunity to look at the resurgence of Detroit's bus system. Check out this bananas stat: In January 2014, fewer than 60% of scheduled buses made their trip!? That's a thing of the past, and the city has seen an increase in transit services (1,500 additional bus runs per week), created nine 24-hour lines, bought new buses, and hired 100 new drivers. Who's behind all of this? A mayor that loves transit and thinks it's important!
Speaking of that Q-Line, you should read this thought-provoking post on the Motor City Freedom Riders website about why not all new transit is great transit. There's a lot for us to learn from the Freedom Riders and their work to bring regional transit to Detroit.