This week in transit: New ridership numbers!


I’ve got new GRTC ridership numbers through the week of October 7th (PDF) for you to dig into, hot off the presses! Here are some of the more interesting takeaways, but I encourage you to open up the document and see how your own bus performs!

  • The Pulse ridership continues to exceed expectations. Over the last three weeks for which data are available (September 25th–October 13th), the Pulse has seen an average of 39,319 rides per week—smashing the pre-launch goal of 22,600. The week of September 30th even broke 40,000 rides!
  • Some context for the previous numbers: The Pulse accounted for 22.6% of the entire system ridership over those three weeks.
  • For the month of September, VCU students, faculty, and staff took 45,345 local-service rides (that’s non-Pulse buses). Due to how the data are aggregated, it’s hard to tell what percentage of total ridership that is, but let’s say it’s somewhere around 10%.
  • The #1ABC, #2ABC, and #5 are some of the local-service routes with the highest ridership. Combined, the #1ABC accounts for about 15% of total system ridership!
  • The ridership on Henrico’s major routes has soared after the County extended service to Short Pump and expanded operating hours. Just look at the #19’s average rides the three weeks before the extension to Short Pump and the three weeks after: 1,519 ➡️ 4,520! That’s nearly triple!
  • Henrico’s #7 and #91 have also seen sizable ridership increases after operating hours were expanded.
  • The route with the lowest ridership? The 23x averaged just 50 rides per week over the last three weeks of available data. Yikes.


Will autonomous vehicles magically solve congestion? Nope! In fact, they may make the traffic problems (and air-quality issues) cities see even worse.

I was just in Pittsburgh last week and was shocked to learn that it costs $1 to make a transfer in their bus network (in Richmond that costs $0.25). Even more shocking, if you’re paying in cash, there are no transfers and you have to just pay the full fare again ($2.75 compared to Richmond’s $1.50). This article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette goes into how those policies extend to their planned mobile fare-payment app and how the local transit advocacy group is pushing to make the entire fare system more equitable.

—Ross Catrow