AROUND THE REGION
New systemwide GRTC ridership numbers through the week of May 19th (PDF) are out and available for you to download. So far this year, the entire system has seen about 7.8 million rides compared to just 6.7 million last year—and they’ve still got June’s numbers to run. Also, at 6,908 average weekday rides, the Pulse has nearly doubled the initial ridership projections of 3,500. Wow!
Check it out: More national media coverage on the success of the Pulse! GRTC’s Garland Williams talks to NPR’s Here & Now about how Richmond’s new BRT and redesigned bus network resulted in a 17% increase in bus ridership. Across America, transit ridership is on the decline, so it’s exciting to see other cities learning from Richmond’s success. One quibble: Williams doesn’t think we’ll see more dedicated bus lanes in Richmond. There are, in fact, a bunch of streets where the City could install dedicated lanes to speed up bus services and make public transportation faster, cheaper to run, and more competitive with folks who choose to drive personal vehicles. To name a few: E. Main Street, W. Main Street, W. Cary Street, 14th Street, Chamberlayne Avenue, and Hull Street—and that’s just in the city. If we want to make public transportation an easy and reliable way to get around—whether you have a car or not—we’ve got to start prioritizing it over personal vehicles.
A frequent complaint about our region’s existing public transit system is the lack of park-and-rides specifically for the Pulse (park-and-rides exist for some of GRTC’s express buses). Charleston, South Carolina is working on their own rapid transit improvements and part of that includes a park-and-ride study. That’s maybe something Henrico County should consider on both the eastern and western ends of the Pulse line.
Oklahomans are stoked on public transportation! Oklahoma! Oklahoma! Oklahoma!