AROUND THE REGION
Adam Lockett at RVA Mag writes about the importance of the partnership and pilot program between GRTC and VCU. That partnership is in the midst of renegotiation, and we’ll probably soon know how the two will move forward. I agree with Lockett: Any reduction in scope of the partnership—either by eliminating the program entirely or making only the Pulse and #5 bus available to VCU students, faculty, and staff—would be detrimental to all of the public transit momentum we have in town. I’m hopeful that VCU will go ahead and make the current pilot program permanent while also paying their full and fair share of that cost. This quote from a March 19th article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch makes me think that’s still an option: “VCU and VCU Health remain committed to continuing to fund a cost-effective transportation option that provides our students and employees with access to the entire GRTC system.”
Here’s a fascinating-yet-nerdy transportation chart: How the length of time you feel like you’ve been waiting for the bus is impacted by the amenities of the bus stop. If your bus stop has shelter, seating, and realtime arrival information, there’s a significant impact on your perceived waiting time—reducing it by as much as 35%! Also interesting, although not unexpected, lack of amenities at a bus stop increases the perceived waiting time for women much more than men.
The City of Chicago wanted to increase bus ridership and in an attempt to do so installed a clever combined bus lane / bike lane pilot program that turned out to be a complete success. Bus speeds went up 65% and now the city wants to try the experiment elsewhere.
There’s been a lot written about the failed transit-funding referendum in Gwinnett County, Georgia as transit advocates and opponents process what happened. I enjoyed this opinion piece about the business benefits of public transportation that are no longer on the table for the county. Back in Richmond, we could use some of the region’s business leaders to step up and write a few things like this!