Social distancing guidelines has led GRTC (Greater Richmond Transit
Company) to redistribute its buses during the COVID-19 crisis. Express
routes with low passenger counts are being re-deployed on high ridership
routes with passenger counts averaging greater than 20 people per bus.
Most express route customers are now transported in GRTC vans instead of
buses, freeing these buses to jump onto local routes.
According to GRTC ridership on core local routes continues to be very
high with passenger loads frequently exceeding 20 or 30 passengers per
bus. Using the buses removed from express service operations, Last week,
GRTC began deploying additional buses on the 1A, 2A/B/C, 3B/C, and
Pulse. Passengers may be asked to board a bus tailing the normal bus in
service to provide better social distancing on-board.
“This allows us to continue providing essential transit service
without leaving passengers stranded at bus stops and enables us to
better-space passengers physically apart while riding,” said GRTC
Chief Executive Officer Julie Timm. “Even though we are placing more
local buses in service, we stress that customers should only ride for
essential needs like getting to jobs, food or critical resources.”
Passengers are asked to leave a seat empty beside them and observe
social distancing as much as possible while riding. Customers are also
encouraged to follow CDC guidelines and wear face masks when in public.
GRTC previously suspended fare collection March 19 and implemented rear
door boarding, except for passengers needing Operator assistance at the
GRTC ridership on express routes has decreased dramatically during
COVID-19 while many downtown employees are able to telework, but there
are still passengers needing express service. To ensure service for
these customers continues, GRTC reported it is still operating modified
express trips. GRTC is assessing additional changes to go into effect