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GRTC riders hope new rapid transit plan leads to shorter commutes

Posted at 10:59 PM, Jan 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-31 23:38:38-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Leonard Johnson spends nearly two hours each way traveling to and from work in South Richmond using GRTC.

The most surprising thing about his long journey?

If he had a car and drove, he said it would take him just eight minutes because his starting point and end point are so close to each other.

But, no bus runs between them, so he has to go all the way to the transfer station, wait 45 minutes there, and then go all the way back.

Leonard Johnson

Leonard Johnson

“That’s insane. I feel like you could walk and it would be faster,” CBS 6 reporter Melissa Hipolit said to Johnson.

“I actually clocked that, and I think it would take an hour and 45 minutes,” Johnson replied.

Johnson did not realize it, but GRTC will soon undergo major changes with a new rapid transit plan in the works that includes several bus routes with service every 15 minutes.

He hopes the changes will make his commute faster.

“You can do more things in your day with your time instead of riding on the bus,” said Johnson.

bus-route

Yet, council member Mike Jones, whose district includes part of the Southside, said the current plan doesn’t do enough for South Richmond.

“None of the red line routes go deep into the 9th district, it stops at Belt Boulevard,” Jones said.

As you can see, most of those red lines served by buses every 15 minutes sit north of the river.

Jones and three other council members rode a bus from deep in Southside to downtown to better understand the changes and what tweaks they might want to make.

“If we’re one city then we need to share the burden of public transit,” Jones said.

Mayor Levar stoney

Mayor Levar stoney

Once downtown, Mayor Levar Stoney jumped on another bus and rode it back to Southside talking to customers himself about their concerns.

“It takes me about 45 minutes to get home,” one man said.

“Ummhumm… that’s a long time,” Stoney responded.

Stoney promised faster service at the same price, which is something riders said, is long overdue.

The rapid transit plan is still in the draft stage, so the public can still submit comments to GRTC about any tweaks they would like made to the plan.