According to the good people at the non-profit To the Bottom and Back, there were 160 riders on Memorial Day for “To the River and Back.” Two shuttles ran from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., courtesy of a donation from the Friends of the James River Park. I’m a little disappointed in Richmond, honestly. I had something to […]
According to the good people at the non-profit To the Bottom and Back, there were 160 riders on Memorial Day for “To the River and Back.” Two shuttles ran from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., courtesy of a donation from the Friends of the James River Park.
I’m a little disappointed in Richmond, honestly. I had something to do with the plan and that ridership figure is much lower than I wanted. We may not have gotten the word to enough potential riders, despite coverage from Richmond.com, CBS6, NBC12, social media and more. Certainly excuses can be made that many Richmonders were out of town for the holiday weekend and this might not have been the ideal test case date. There weren’t many testimonials from riders, but still, I had hoped for more.
“The total numbers for Monday were just about 160. Not great, but a step in the right direction,” said Sandy Appelman of 2BNB. “My experience with new routes and transportation we provide is that Richmond doesn’t always catch on right away. Sometimes it takes several attempts to ‘retrain’ peoples habits.”
I rode the bus with my family, and in both directions, we had the bus to ourselves. Personally, it was my first time on the 2BNB bus, and I didn’t know where to stand (in Carytown), we didn’t know how to set up the app (not 2BNB’s fault, we’re just not savvy) and then the problems with road construction shutting down Tredegar Street between 5th and 7th streets at Meadwestvaco were an issue.
“To The Bottom and Back would really like to see this route work,” said Jim Foster, 2BNB founder. “The City of Richmond has agreed to give us matching funds for the tourism route. So our ‘River and Back’ route could actually be on Saturday. This would allow a long enjoyable day at the river and all of the city’s attractions.”
When I randomly ran into Porter at The Diamond days before the “To the River and Back” effort, we talked about ways to modify the To the Bottom and Back buses to add racks for kayaks and bikes. He was very excited to pursue the shuttle service to the river long-term.
“We would be able to outfit the bus with racks for bikes, kayaks and an air compressor for tubing. Along the route we would be able to drop them off and pick them up at another spot,” he said by email, after Memorial Day.
Somewhere down the road, I’d love to see a service that provides a shuttle between Pony Pasture and Belle Isle (and maybe the Fan — a horseshoe route that includes the southbank?). That one is bold and maybe far down the road, but would help with some of the parking issues at both Belle Isle and Pony Pasture and maybe allow for more users to make a run or two on the river (kayaking, tubing) and use the bus as the way back.
If we want to change the river culture with To the River and Back, the already terrible peak-time parking issues would have become even more of an inconvenience — charging for parking or shutting down lots, etc. It would take more signage and education, not just through the media or through 2BNB’s connections.
2BNB received “matching funding” from the city to be awarded July 1 towards the continuation of the Saturday tourism route. The route would potentially still include the Tredegar/Belle Isle stop. They have the month of June to raise $13,500 privately and then the city will contribute the balance which will fund the route through the end of 2011.