This week in transit: The Pulse opens on June 24th!

It’s official: The Pulse, Richmond’s first Bus Rapid Transit line, will begin operation on Sunday, June 24th! That’s about 50 days from now! On that Sunday, in addition to the Pulse opening, all of the bus routes in town will also change—this includes their names, numbers, and span (the hours they operate). It’s a big change, and it’ll take some learning, but you can expect more frequent routes across most of the city, great Saturday service, and an easier to understand system overall. If you’re nervous about how to get where you need to go once the new system launches, just call one of GRTC’s travel buddies (804.358.4782). They exist to help folks figure out and practice getting around before the new system opens.


To pull off this massive switchover, from old system to new, GRTC needs a ton of volunteers to head out into the City on June 22nd and 23rd and help update 1,100 bus stop signs. This sounds like neat volunteer opportunity, and you can sign up to help over on GRTC’s website.


Nashville’s referendum to raise taxes to build a regional transit system failed this past week by a 2-1 margin. That’s disappointing, but the legislation allowing the region to raise funds for transportation still exists at the state level. Transit advocates will now regroup and figure out some next steps.

Meanwhile, in Atlanta, the governor signed legislation creating a new regional transit authority (ATL) which will, among other things, figure out how to spend $100 million in new transportation bonds. The legislation also enables communities to hold a referendum to raise sales taxes to pay for construction and operation of new transit projects.

“But what about autonomous vehicles?!”, is a thing lots of people say—including some elected officials and transit agencies. TransitCenter has a good piece up about why transit agencies need to continue to invest in rail and bus service now and not wait on the possible prospect of a driverless future. Plus, streets are only but so big, and in high-traffic areas, flooding those streets with vehicles—automated or not—still limits the number of humans that can move around (see: the picture at the top of the TransitCenter article).

The Port Authority of Allegheny County, Pittsburgh’s transit agency, has purchased its first electric bus. Small pilot projects like this are a neat way to test electric bus technology which is just another way public transportation can help improve air quality and reduce emissions.

If you'd like to support RVA Rapid Transit's work to bring a truly regional transit system to Richmond, consider making a tax-deductible donation.

—Ross Catrow