City Council passes price hike for GRTC’s disabled riders

Posted at 12:15 AM, Oct 15, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-15 12:23:25-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Instead of riding GRTC’s Care Van, some Richmond residents said they are being thrown under it by GRTC.

“There are a lot of people who are not going to be able to go to work. There are people who will not show up for their medical appointments,” Care Van rider Timothy Smalls said.

Smalls and other riders pleaded before Richmond City Council members Monday, asking them not to give GRTC the green light to raise rates and cut service for the disabled.

“Please reconsider this action,” said one rider.

The transit company asked council to increase the basic fare for its care van service from $2.50 to $3.

GRTC also wants to charge $6 for its extended care van service, which takes riders to the surrounding counties, veering away from GRTC's fixed routes.

That extended service would also be reduced to just Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“We are just struggling financially to try to maintain that same level of service,” said a GRTC spokesperson.

With a vote of six in favor, and three opposed, council sided with GRTC leaders.

“We extended the service because we could afford it. We don't have that luxury today,” Council Member Kathy Graziano said.

“Something has to be done. I don't understand your disability because I’m not in it, but I do understand that we have to do something,” Council Member Michelle Mosby said.

“Are we two-thirds of a person because we're in a chair? I don't think so. We lost the battle, but, the war is not over,” concluded Smalls.

The price changes take effect on January 5.