RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – As labor shortages continue to affect GRTC, the transit service is offering a new pilot program to help riders get to their destination on time.

Starting Monday, select routes will temporarily end service at 11 p.m. or not start until 6 a.m. because of ongoing driver shortages. A GRTC spokesperson confirms with 8News 294 bus stops are served by the routes with adjusted schedules.

To help fill the gap for those who need a ride before or after those service hours, GRTC is offering a new on-demand ride service between bus stops.

Related coverage: GRTC to pilot on-demand services during labor shortage

Riders can request one ride per day from one GRTC bus stop to another on weekdays from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. and again from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. GRTC says they’re working with multiple partners to provide the service under Zero Fare operations.

“We are excited to pilot this new on-demand service to ensure no rider is disadvantaged by GRTC’s temporary service adjustments on some routes,” GRTC Chief Executive Officer Julie Timm said. “Although the bus schedule impacts are modest, we know most riders are commuting to or from work and rely on us to be there on time. “This pilot not only preserves service for these late night and early morning commuters, it will also yield data to study in the GRTC service area for demand of an on-demand mobility service.”

The pilot program is expected to end in 2022, though the transit service says it could end at any time.

A GRTC spokesperson anticipates staffing levels will continue to improve in early 2022. As of December 1, the transit service had 247 full time operators. GRTC needs about 280 for the service operated this fall.

Riders can call 804-358-4782 for help requesting a ride over the phone with Uber, UZURV, or a small GRTC vehicle. Riders will be able to request a ride through the Uber App when it’s phased in this winter.

Riders are required to wear their mask, regardless of vaccination status.

Route changes are the following:

  • 1A – ends evening service at Midnight instead of 1 a.m.
  • 4A – begins service at 6 a.m. instead of 5 a.m. Operates hourly throughout the service day.
  • 4B – operates hourly throughout the service day. 
  • 5 – operates every 30 minutes throughout the service day (5 a.m.-1 a.m.). (As new Operators arrive in winter, additional Route 5 buses will enter service unscheduled, resulting in more frequent buses.)
  • 12 – ends evening service at Midnight instead of 1 a.m.
  • 13 – begins service at 6 a.m. instead of 5 a.m. and ends service at 11:30 p.m. instead of 12:30 a.m. Operates hourly after 7 p.m.
  • 14 – begins service at 6 a.m. instead of 5 a.m.
  • 20 – operates every 30 minutes (5 a.m.-9 a.m., 4 p.m.-7 p.m.) and hourly (9 a.m.-4 p.m., 7 p.m.-10 p.m.)
  • 76 – operates hourly instead of every 40 minutes.
  • 77 – operates hourly instead of every 40 minutes. Begins service at 6 a.m. instead of 5 a.m.
  • 78 – operates hourly instead of every 40 minutes.
  • 88 – operates every 30 minutes (5AM-9AM), hourly (2PM-4PM), and every 30 minutes (4PM-7PM) and one trip at 10:30PM.