RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Hundreds of Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC) bus stops in Richmond, Chesterfield County and Henrico County will be getting upgrades in the next five years that will make them more comfortable and accessible for all residents to use.
Currently, the majority of GRTC’s stops are out of date and need updates to better serve disabled and low-income residents. According to GRTC, only 5% of GRTC’s 1,609 active local stops have a shelter and 21% have seating. Additionally, fewer than half of the stops predate the Americans with Disabilities Act — which was created over three decades ago in 1990 — and are not compliant with the act.
Of all the stops that are lacking infrastructure like shelters, shelters and disability accommodations, the majority of them are in low-income areas, according to GRTC.
The GRTC’s board of directors has now approved a plan, called The Essential Transit Infrastructure plan, which will improve any aspects of GRTC stops, including the installation of 160 shelters and 225 benches over the next five years. GRTC will also coordinate with jurisdictions to improve Americans with Disability Act compliance at stops.
This process is expected to begin in the summer of 2023.
“This is one of several GRTC strategic initiatives planned that aim to address the various impediments to transit access and ultimately inequities,” Sam Sink, GRTC director of planning and scheduling. “GRTC champions social and economic mobility by prioritizing connecting people to essential human services and needs. With proper operational and capital investment, transit is a factor that can improve overall quality of life.”
GRTC has not yet decided which stops will receive new shelters and benches, but plans to use a scoring system to determine which stops will qualify for improvements. The scoring system takes into account how often a stop is used, how close it is to key locations like schools and hospitals and if it is near a low-income area, according to Essential Transit Infrastructure plan materials.
The Essential Transit Infrastructure plan will cost between $11 million and $28.6 million, and will be funded through a combination of local, state and federal grants, according to GRTC.