CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A new pilot program by Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC) said it will soon be offering a lifeline to less walkable communities.

The company plans to launch a micro-transit system that could help reconnect some rural areas without public transportation. Micro-transit is a type of on-demand mobility service, like Uber or Lyft, that riders can order through a smartphone app.

Lawrence Jones, who lives on Richmond’s southside, said he rides the bus all the time, but a service that comes to his front door would be even more convenient.

“Older people my age who still want to get around and get about. There’s a certain amount of independence you like and exercise,” Jones said. “Get a little ride. Get a little walk, so yea I say it’s a good thing. I mean if it don’t cost an arm and a leg.”

GRTC is helping the Central Virginia Transit Authority with identifying potential transit services for areas not suitable for fixed-route bus service.

The company took on the Richmond Region Micro Transit study and conducted a public survey last year. The results revealed 45% of the people who responded said they typically drive alone as one of their main modes of travel and over 60% of respondents rarely or never use GRTC’s services.

Over a third indicated they would use it at least once a week. Around 80% of respondents were willing to pay up to $6 per trip and wait up to 20 minutes for a ride. A majority of them said they’re comfortable with app-based booking.

“My mother used to tell me I should’ve been born with a chauffeur. I never liked to drive,” Jones said.

Some of the localities the company is considering for the micro-transit service include:

  • Ashland County
  • Charles City County
  • Goochland County
  • Hanover County
  • Powhatan County
  • Richmond City
  • Chesterfield County
  • New Kent County

“I just hope they pick it up and get it going soon,” Jones added.

The three-year pilot program will launch next year in the fall.