There are two local events coming up in the next couple of weeks that you should put on your calendar:
First, June 18th is the City’s Multimodal Day. Take the opportunity today to plan how you can get around town on the 18th using your feet, a scooter, a bike, or the bus—(fake) bonus points if you combine multiple modes in a single trip! You can sign the Multimodal Day pledge here.
Second, the Greater Washington Partnership will host an event celebrating Richmond’s transportation success(es) on June 25th at the ICA from 8:00–9:45 AM. Expect some breakfast, an awards presentation, and definitely a Mayor Stoney sighting.
AROUND THE REGION
Last week VCU and GRTC signed a new, three-year agreement to extend the existing unlimited rides pilot program for all VCU, VCU Health System, and Virginia Premier students and employees. As the region’s largest employer and one of the state’s largest public universities, keeping VCU on the bus is huge and fantastic news. Additionally, VCU will pay $1.42 million for the program this coming year, up from the $1.2 million they pay currently. That amount will increase each of the subsequent years, too. Keeping the cost inline with the expected increase in VCU ridership is an important step in keeping fares—across the entire system—fair.
The scooters have landed! This past Thursday, Bolt dropped their fleet of electric scooters in Richmond. You can watch some short remarks and see a gif of the Mayor riding a scooter for the first time here. Bolt says they’ve got a fleet of 500-vehicles and that 35% of them will end up in neighborhoods with lower-incomes. They’ve also got an income-based discount program called Bolt Forward that will give folks who qualify 50% off scooter rides. If well-implemented, these equity-focused components of Bolt’s scooter program can help provided first/last-mile access to public transportation—but they need to be actually implemented. Stay tuned, and ride safe!
This past General Assembly session saw the creation of a dedicated transportation funding stream for the I-81 corridor. While it’s mostly for road building and maintenance, it did leave the Richmond Region as the only major region in Virginia without a similar dedicated source of transportation funds. As our region’s leaders and elected officials inevitably start thinking about finding a transportation funding stream of their own, first, they must mandate a sizable chunk of that funding go toward building, maintaining, and operating regional public transportation. Building more roads will not save our region from congestion, climate-change, or the increasingly dire housing crisis. Second, they can and should learn a lot from the mistakes and missed opportunities related to Nashville’s recently-failed ballot referendum, or maybe take a look at Salt Lake City where 40% of a newly-levied sales tax will go towards public transportation.