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GRTC Transfer Plaza Faces Criticism

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The owner of the jewelry store where a clerk was killed thinks there may be a reason his shop was targeted. He believes it's connected to a change in GRTC bus routes.

Since GRTC moved a lot of the bus routes off of Broad Street to its new transfer plaza on 9th Street, there's been a lot less people outside of stores. That's led to some store owners to feel unsafe.

It's part of many complaints that passengers have with the new GRTC system.
Passenger Larell White says the new bus system has made her late for work several times and is an inconvenience to many

"This is not a transfer plaza," she says. "This was something thrown together to put all the people together. We have seniors walking from one end of the block to the other. The single parents that have more than one child…they can't feed their children or take them to the bathroom."

In addition, there's no shelter from harsh weather like rain or heat.

"When it rained last week, you got wet," White says. "And you can't stand up under here because if your bus is down there, you have to be at that bus stop or that bus stop cause once it pulls off it won't stop again."

The idea of the plaza was to ease traffic on Broad Street, but that has taken foot traffic away from stores that used to depend on passengers for business. Victoria Jewelers owner Nazir Kamra feels less people around led to the shooting that killed his employee.

"100 percent sure," he says. "There would be nobody with the courage to go to the store and do this thing while 40 people were standing there."

But GRTC officials say some Broad Street businesses are actually happy with less people loitering. They also plan to make improvements to the plaza over the next few months.

"This summer we do plan on adding more shelters throughout the plaza," says Chief of Transit Operations Tim Barham.

Passengers hope that's sooner than later.

"At least act like you want to accommodate us and not push a schedule in someone's face and say this is how it's going to be," White says.
Along with those new bus shelters, GRTC says they are listening to feedback and trying to make things easier - including adding more routes. All of that is expected over the summer.
Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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