Read on for an open letter from the Richmond Transit Riders Union to the Mayor Dwight C. Jones, City Council Member’s and CEO John M. Lewis Jr. regarding the fare increase scheduled for September 19, 2010. Be sure to share your thoughts.
See below for an open letter from the Richmond Transit Riders Union to the Mayor Dwight C. Jones, City Council Member’s and CEO John M. Lewis Jr. regarding the fare increase scheduled for September 19, 2010. Be sure to share your thoughts.
Dear Mayor Dwight C. Jones, Council Persons and CEO John M. Lewis Jr.,
The Richmond Transit Riders Union understands that it was determined during the July 26, 2010 City Council Meeting, that a need for an expedited increase in fares was able to be deferred until September 19th due to a 3 percent increase in ridership over the previous three months.
However, John Lewis stated in a July 27th Richmond Times Dispatch article, “If that trend continues, we’ll be more than able to absorb that $190,000” in lost revenue.
If there has been an increase in ridership, and that increase has allowed GRTC to be “more than able to absorb” lost revenue, why should riders still expect to pay an increase in fares?
We ask to place a freeze on the scheduled fare increase, and wait another quarter to determine whether the revenue from the fare box is sufficient.
In the meantime, the Richmond Transit Riders Union feels that there are several solutions which could be immediately implemented to help increase ridership and produce much needed revenue for expansion and operational costs.
Some of these suggestions have already been outlined in the Greater Richmond Transit Company’s ‘Comprehensive Operations Analysis: Final Report’ on March 3, 2008. However, none of these suggestions have yet to be put into effect.
- Simplify the route structure to make it more understandable. For example, route information, including bus numbers, times, transfer, and fare information to be placed at all bus stops.
- Full service maps at major stops and transfer stations.
- Use of GPS technology to it’s fullest extent in order to provide a more reliable service. (ie. http://www.nextbus.com/ )
- Day & monthly passes made available using current technology (ie. VCU student
- Increase service frequencies to the neighborhoods on the outskirts of town where lower income residents are concentrated.
- Increase efficiency and productivity of each route including those running North-South & cross-town. For example, traveling from Westover Hills Boulevard to Carytown which is under 3 miles, takes 1 hour and 20 minutes via GRTC. By car it would take less than 10 minutes. The most immediate solution to this problem would be to provide an express bus for this route.
- More frequent and better timed/organized buses on busy streets, such as Broad, Hull, Midlothian, & Jefferson Davis Hwy, especially during rush hour.
We also suggest that the city of Richmond expedite construction of the proposed downtown and neighborhood Transit/Transfer Centers. Such centers would provide shelter, points of sale for passes, and a rest area for both passengers and drivers. However instead of a Transfer Center at 2nd & Broad St, move it to the unused parking lot behind Center Stage on 6th & Broad St.
Downtown Transit Centers
- Broad Street Transfer Center in the vicinity of 2nd and Broad Streets
- Main Street Station Transit Center near Grace/Franklin/Ambler/17th St
Neighborhood Transit Centers
- Willow Lawn Transit Center
- Southside – Downtown Transit Center near Hull St & Commerce Rd
- South Side Plaza Transit Center near Hull St & Belt Blvd
- Church Hill Transit Center at 25th & Nine Mile as part of the East End Vision
- North Side Transit Center at Dumbarton & Brook Rd. at the end of route #22 With the possibility of Azalea Mall providing space for a ‘Park & Ride’
The Richmond Transit Riders Union feels that these are reasonable suggestions and would lead the city towards a more equitable and efficient public transportation system for all. The RTRU will be attending City Council on Monday September 13th & Monday September 27th.
Thank you for your consideration,
Richmond Transit Riders Union