City Council votes to reduce GRTC CARE service, raise rates

City Council gave the bulk of the evening over to discussion of a proposed reduction in the hours and increase in fare for the GRTC CARE services, and again delayed action on two anticipated items.

brenda hicks

In the biggest ticket item of the night, Council voted to begin the foreclosure process on the parking deck at 901 E. Canal Street. The city will forgive the Richmond Metropolitan Authority’s $34,000,000 debt and gain control of the structure. The 991-parking-space deck was constructed at a cost of approximately $19,000,000 and opened in 1992.

Council also approved outdoor dining for the Franklin Inn, SUPs for over 220 apartments in Church Hill and Scott’s Addition, and funding for a traffic calming roundabout at Idlewood and Grayland.

A largely symbolic ordinance recognizing same sex marriage by the city (PDF) has been continued to October 28th. A vote on a Special Use Permit (PDF) being sought by Captain Buzzy’s to allow the coffeeshop to remain open one hour later and pursue selling beer and wine has been amended and continued to October 28th. New language has been inserted into the SUP requiring that the City Planning Commission hold a public hearing after one year to review the the impact of the new hours and possible alcohol sales on the surrounding neighborhood.

Despite the pleas of GRTC CARE service users from Richmond and Henrico, some in wheelchairs or leaning on walkers, after an almost 3-hour discussion City Council voted 6-3 to support a fare increase and service cut to GRTC’s CARE service. The fare for the basic CARE service will increase from $2.50 to $3.00 per one-way trip, which will still be available from 4:30 AM – 12:30 AM (7 days/week). There will be a new $6.00 fare for the the extended CARE service, and the availability will be cut to 6:00 AM – 8:00 PM (7 days/week). CARE customers will be able to ride GRTC fixed routes free of charge; CARE users currently pay 75¢ on most GRTC fixed routes. The changes will go into effect January 5, 2014.

Council representatives Robertson (6th), Newbille (7th), and Trammell (8th) voted against the ordinance.

GRTC’s basic CARE service provides curb-to-curb paratransit services to individuals with disabilities who may not be reasonably able to use GRTC fixed route bus service during the same areas and hours as the GRTC bus routes. The extended CARE service transports Richmond residents to areas of Henrico and Chesterfield where GRTC does not operate bus routes.

The initial proposal called for the CARE extended service hours to be cut entirely on Saturday and Sunday. Another floated option involved a $14.00 one-way fare for the extended CARE service in 2014.

At issue is the rising cost of the CARE service as part of the GRTC budget. The service makes up approximately 16% of the budget but accounts for only 2% of the ridership. Contributing to the problem is the more than $25 difference between the previous $2.50 one-way fare and the cost to GRTC for each trip.

Even with the adoption of the reduced hours and higher fares, GRTC will still need an increased appropriation of $340,000 to support transit operations through the 2014 fiscal year. Some of this may come from state operating funds, though it is not known how much or when the funding might be available.

city council panorama

There were 12 appointments on the evening:

  • Warren Andorfer as a member of the Advisory Board for the Assessment of Towing Fees and the Storage of Vehicles (Representative of the Police Department)
  • Ramon M. Brinkman as a member of the Audit Committee (member of the business community of the city)
  • Helen R. Pinckney as a member of the Board of Directors of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Inc
  • Martha F. Moore as a member of the Board of Directors of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Inc
  • David E. Cheek, Sr. as a member of Community Criminal Justice Board (General District Court Judge representative)
  • Todd M. Phillips as an alternate member of the Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee to the Metropolitan Planning Organization
  • Sherri Johnson as a member of the Clean City Commission (corporate/citizen volunteer)
  • Donald Moss as a member of the Clean City Commission (Sixth District Representative)
  • Catherine E. Nexsen as a member of the Sister Cities Commission
  • Susanne L. Shilling as a member of the Sister Cities Commission
  • Cassandra Shaw as a member of the Social Services Advisory Board
  • George Braxton, Reginald Gordon and James Johnson as the City of Richmond’s three Directors and the election of the Board of Directors of the Greater Richmond Transit Company

— ∮∮∮ —

The following ordinances/resolutions were passed by City Council:

Ord. No. 2013-155 (Patron: Mayor Jones, By Request) – To authorize the special use of the property known as 1210 Huntland Road for the purpose of a day nursery for up to 12 children, upon certain terms and conditions. (As Amended)

Ord. No. 2013-167 (Patron: Mayor Jones) – To declare a public necessity for and to authorize the acquisition of the [parcel] parcels of real property owned by the Richmond Metropolitan Authority and known as 901 East Canal Street, 911 East Canal Street, and 210 South 10th Street, as well as such portion of a parcel identified as Tax Parcel No. W000-0038/002 as may be necessary, for the purpose of public parking. (As Amended)

Ord. No. 2013-169 (Patron: Mayor Jones) – To renounce the right to receive payment on a debt due to the City in the amount of $18,875,000, plus accrued interest in the amount of $15,000,000, associated with the parking facility constructed on the property known as 901 East Canal Street, pursuant to the Richmond Metropolitan Authority Downtown Expressway Parking Deck Revenue Bonds, series 1990.

Ord. No. 2013-197 (Patron: Mayor Jones, By Request) – To amend Ord. No. 2006-194-200, adopted Jul. 24, 2006, which authorized the special use of the property known as 900 West Franklin Street for the purpose of the expansion of a nonconforming retail bookstore, to authorize additional signage and an increase in the radius within which required parking must be provided, upon certain terms and conditions.

Ord. No. 2013-198 (Patron: Mayor Jones, By Request) – To conditionally rezone the th properties known as 1910 East Franklin Street, 1914 East Franklin Street, 110 North 20 Street, 112 North 20th Street, 114 North 20th Street, 116 North 20th Street, 118 North 20th Street, 120 North 20th Street, 122 North 20th Street, 115 North 19th Street and 1907 East Grace Street from the M-1 Light Industrial District to the B-5C Central Business District (Conditional), upon certain proffered conditions.

Ord. No. 2013-200 (Patron: Mayor Jones, By Request) – To authorize the special use of the property known as 315 Maple Avenue for the purpose of authorizing non-medical office use, upon certain terms and conditions.

Ord. No. 2013-201 (Patron: Mayor Jones, By Request) – To authorize the special use of the property known as 800 North Cleveland Street for the purpose of outdoor dining, upon certain terms and conditions.

Ord. No. 2013-202 (Patron: Mayor Jones, By Request) – To authorize the special use of the property known as 418 North 25th Street for the purpose of authorizing a mixed-use development with a multifamily dwelling of up to 22 dwelling units and uses permitted in the UB Urban Business District, upon certain terms and conditions.

Ord. No. 2013-203 (Patron: Mayor Jones, By Request) – To authorize the special use of the property known as 1310 Roseneath Road for the purpose of authorizing multifamily dwellings with a total of up to 194 dwelling units and office use, upon certain terms and conditions.

Ord. No. 2013-204 (Patron: Mayor Jones, By Request) – To authorize the special use of the properties known as 3027 and 3029 Park Avenue for the purpose of authorizing four (4) two- family attached dwelling units, upon certain terms and conditions.

Ord. No. 2013-209 (Patron: Mayor Jones) – To authorize the Chief Administrative Officer to accept $250,000 from Virginia Commonwealth University and to appropriate the increase to the Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Capital Budget by increasing estimated revenues and the amount appropriated to the Department of Public Works’ Traffic Calming/Idlewood Roundabout project in the Transportation category by $250,000 for the construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Idlewood Avenue, Grayland Avenue and an off ramp from the Downtown Expressway.

Ord. No. 2013-210 (Patrons: Ms. Newbille and Ms. Mosby) – To authorize the Council Chief of Staff, for and on behalf of the City of Richmond, to execute a License Agreement No. 5174 between the City of Richmond, as licensee, and Global Spectrum, L. P. for the purpose of licensing space within the Greater Richmond Convention Center for the Richmond City Council Senior Resource Fair event on October 31, 2013.

Res. No. 2013-R187 (Patron: Vice President Robertson) – To temporarily waive the residency requirement for Lou Brown Ali imposed by City Code § 2-1112(c)(1).

Res. No. 2013-R188 (Patron: Ms. Newbille) – To approve an expenditure in the amount of $2,500 from the Council Districts Funds for the Seventh District to make a donation to the Neighborhood Resource Center, Inc. to support the Greater Fulton’s Future Community Vision & Agreement.

Res. No. 2013-R203 (Patron: Ms. Mosby) – To approve an expenditure in the amount of $1,696 from the Council Districts Funds for the Ninth District to make a payment to the Greater Richmond Convention Center to assist with the costs associated with the Richmond City Council Senior Resource Fair.

Ord. No. 2013-142 (Patrons: Mr. Baliles, Ms. Graziano and Ms. Mosby) – To amend and reordain City Code § 110-136, concerning bus fares, for the purpose of increasing the CARE service fare and providing that CARE paratransit service not required by the Americans with Disabilities Act will be provided only from 6:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., Monday through Sunday. (As Amended)

PHOTO: Brenda Hicks by John Murden

  • error

    Report an error

2 comments on City Council votes to reduce GRTC CARE service, raise rates

  1. Shameful. The city will build a multi-million dollar training facility for an NFL team that isn’t from Virginia, but they can’t find the funds to make easier the transportation of our own handicapped and disabled citizens.

    What classes do my mommy and daddy have to pay for, for me to understand why this makes “professional” sense?

  2. anonymous on said:

    On one hand, I very much agree with John’s sentiments. On the other hand, there is a lot of information missing from this article. In particular, these cuts are mostly a result of the counties’ unwillingness to fund mass transit. The City cannot continue to fund every disabled citizen’s trip from the City to the counties without the counties kicking in more money for GRTC overall. It’s time for the counties to make real commitments. They should be ashamed as well. Hopefully this will be a priority for regional cooperation this coming year.

Leave a comment

Your comment may be held for moderation and may not appear until manually approved. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with an asterisk (*).

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Or report an error instead