As Henrico considers upping their public transportation budget, RVA Rapid Transit wants to show the County’s Board of Supervisors a little support and encouragement. Join us at the March 13th Board of Supervisors meeting (7:00 PM, 4301 E. Parham Road) to show that support—and make sure you wear green! If you’re interested, just reply to this email so we can have a sense of our numbers. This is a critical opportunity to expand our region’s public transportation system, and we need your help to make sure it happens.
P.S. RVA Rapid Transit T-shirts are back, if you’ve been looking for one.
AROUND THE REGION
Pretty big Pulse construction news: Crews installed the FINAL steel canopy this past week. It really seems like we’re entering the “finishing touches” stage for a lot of the stations—for example, they’ve started putting on some of the stations’ cedar ceilings. You can read a super-detailed list of all this coming week’s construction goals and impacts over on the GRTC Pulse blog.
Our friends at TransitCenter have an update on how Raleigh/Durham has applied funding from a 2016 ballot measure to improve basic bus service in the region. They’ve increased frequency on some bus routes, added new bus routes, and have improved access to the airport—and, guess what, they’ve started to see an increase in ridership. Rather than start with a big, shiny project, Raleigh/Durham is knocking down small transit wins to build a base of support for future project like new rail and BRT corridors.
Is on-demand microstransit a sensible thing for a public transportation agency to provide? Transit expert Jarrett Walker says no! He’s got a really great table of passenger trips per service hour for all kinds of different modes of transportation that you should definitely look at. A frequent urban bus, like Richmond’s #6 or #37, typically has between 40–100 passenger trips per hour. An infrequent, suburban bus that’s designed to squiggle around neighborhoods so folks don’t have to walk too far to a bus stop (that’s called a “coverage” route, think the #16), has between 10–15 passenger trips per hour. Microstransit pilot programs to date have tallied just 0–3 passengers per hour! Read his whole post for some more discussion on efficiency, equity, and cost.
While Virginia’s General Assembly recently nixed an Uber/Lyft tax to help pay for local transit agencies’ capital costs, cities all over the country are using this sort of tax to pay for critical transportation needs.
D.C. looks to decriminalize fare evasion and lower the maximum penalty to $100. To ride the Pulse in Richmond, folks will pay at the stations and walk right on to the bus (that’s called off-board fare collection). Fare enforcement officers will randomly check for folks evading fare. At some point soon, both Richmond and Henrico will need to set their penalties for fare evasion.