CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) – Chesterfield and Richmond folks will soon be able to hop on the bus, and ride down Midlothian Turnpike in Chesterfield as part of a new pilot project.
GRTC will extend its 1A bus line several miles down the road into Midlothian, in a little over $2 million project.
The extension will start where the current route ends, at Stonebridge Plaza near Chippenham Parkway, and will extend down Midlothian Turnpike for five miles, with bus stops at all the major intersections.
Bus rider Marcelle Williams lit up when she heard the bus could soon start going into Chesterfield.
“I can go more places,” she smiled.
Once it’s started up, Williams, who relies on the bus to get to where she needs to go, will be able to visit her niece who lives in Chesterfield.
“I can see her. Yeah, I can go stop by her house,” she said, excited for the future possibilities opening up for her.
The turnpike sees heavy traffic, and GRTC spokesperson Sam Sink said they’ve seen strong demand for bus service there.
For Williams and other riders, there are important stops they’ll now be able to include in the new, longer route.
“There are a lot of doctors, they’re expanding out, you know, further out into the Chesterfield area,” Williams explained.
Sink said GRTC is still debating whether to divert the route and pick up at Johnston Willis Hospital. Either way, the route goes just past where the hospital sits along the turnpike.
The route extension will go from Stonebridge Plaza, a spot that is being revitalized, down Midlothian Turnpike and end at the Midlothian Walmart on Walmart Way near Courthouse Road.
Once it’s put in place, riders like William Harris will be able to hop on from 6 a.m., all the way until 1 a.m. the next day.
“It’s a good idea if they get the drivers that they need,” Harris said.
He said there’s one issue that he hopes will be ironed out before the project starts.
“A lot of times, the bus, for some reason, doesn’t come at all,” he explained. “So, that means if they’re waiting one hour, they have to wait two hours.”
Williams is just excited she’ll be able to go even further. “Richmond is moving up,” she laughed.
The project is set to start up in the fall of 2023 and last one year.
At that point, the county will look at how much the route was used to see if they’ll keep the extension going forward.