Memorial Day is the big “To the River and Back” day with the To the Bottom and Back shuttle service to the James River Park’s Belle Isle, and I just happened to sit with 2BNB founder Jim Porter for a few innings at the Richmond Flying Squirrels game last night. I have to admit, I really respect 2BNB. The […]
Memorial Day is the big “To the River and Back” day with the To the Bottom and Back shuttle service to the James River Park’s Belle Isle, and I just happened to sit with 2BNB founder Jim Porter for a few innings at the Richmond Flying Squirrels game last night.
I have to admit, I really respect 2BNB. The non-profit business is unique, fun, safe and useful. Richmond needs more services and people that tailor themselves to fun and promoting our city. It was appropriate to randomly meet Porter at the game because I think 2BNB is fun like the Flying Squirrels are fun. When its like that, promotion seems to take care of itself.
I have been a little worried about trying to get the message out that To the River and Back is happening 11-7 p.m. Memorial Day, thanks to the generosity of the Friends of the James River Park. After talking with Porter — a man who loves his city and said “we can do great things in Richmond” — I’m a little less worried now. They will work their magic to get the word out. Facebook. Twitter. Mobile apps. Word of mouth.
According to its website, To The Bottom and Back (2BNB) is a 501(c)(3) and is organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes. It currently operates buses on continuous loops throughout the major arteries in the city from 6pm to 3am, Thursday-Saturday. 2BNB bridges the gap between the Fan District, the East End/Downtown, Boulevard and Broad Streets, and aims to fill the void that existing public transportation creates.
According to what Porter and I talked about, 2BNB is popular and successful in part because of the social aspect. Being able to pile plenty of Richmonders from all walks of life into a bus and ride safely. Riding with your friends, not needing a designated driver, in a fun atmosphere.
I’m jealous of the opportunity people have now with this serivice. If I’d had this in the 1990s when I was frequenting Richmond’s bars and nightlife hot spots, life would have been easier and more fun.
Jim Porter is a fun guy and seems like the ideal person to run a business like 2BNB. He was injured in an accident that involved a drunk driver years ago and that inspired him to create this service.
He mentioned how bus tracking makes it fun for riders. “People have made drinking games off of that,” he said. People pack the buses and he has had to acquire more buses to keep up.
He also admitted that since 2BNB has picked up more sponsorships, there has been less donations (I asked). When you ride the bus Monday, please make sure you tip the driver. More donations = more buses, more often. Fun transit!
If ”To the River and Back” works out and runs again, it will be because the first one was well-attended and a new donator steps in to support it. The Friends of the James River Park cannot sustain their sponsorship.
Porter mentioned that he’d love to be able to fit kayak racks on the side of the bus. Maybe next time the shuttle route could also include a stretch to Pony Pasture which would connect it with Belle Isle and Reedy Creek and give riders the chance to run the river a couple of times with the watercraft of their choosing..
Bikes are welcome and can ride in the bus Monday. Inner tubes are welcome too. Try not t track too much mud into the bus and don’t expect to haul big coolers — remember the park has rules against drinking….