GRTC readies relaxed social restrictions, riders to encounter new features


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — While Central Virginia bus riders will encounter relaxed pandemic era-restrictions, passengers are still asking for more from the Greater Richmond Transit Corporation.

Starting Aug. 8, GRTC says they will no longer funnel passengers primarily through the rear doors of buses, as a means to channel riders without having to come in close contact with others.

At the same time, the transit authority will openly welcome rides to everyone; not limited to essential workers or for essential travel.

“If it is packed on the bus, I don’t mind standing,” Pulse line rider David Miller told 8News Thursday, ahead of the softened travel guidelines.

Passenger Nicha Redd said “you cannot social distance at all, so you’re still going to be sitting beside somebody that you don’t know.”

GRTC will follow federal transportation measures for mask wearing, which will be required through at least September 13.

Redd isn’t thrilled about the continuation of mask requirements. “Some people can’t even hear me and I would be like this is so frustrating,” she said.

Though, Miller said he understands why the rule will remain, saying “I can still carry the virus to somebody else, so you have to wear a mask.”

Changes will also be seen off buses, as GRTC continues a new phase of concrete slab installations at bus stops, primarily in the south side. 

“Passengers who may have mobility navigation issues or mobility devices, or just simply need the ramp,” GRTC Spokesperson Carrie Rose Pace told 8News Thursday.

One additional change to routes heading into the second half of 2021—minors will be allowed to ride unaccompanied, again, no longer limited to trips to school and work.

GRTC maintains rides will remain fare-free through June 2022, thanks to federal aid from the American Rescue Plan.

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