Nov 7, 2022 - News

GRTC plans Richmond’s next rapid transit line

Illustration of a city bus that says "Next Stop."

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

GRTC is making plans for its next big expansion: a second bus rapid transit route.

Why it matters: The new line would offer fast north-south transit options for the first time.

  • It would complement the region’s first and only BRT line, the Pulse, which opened in 2018 and travels east-west from Rocketts Landing to Willow Lawn.

What’s happening: GRTC commissioned a $700,000 study at the end of last month to evaluate potential routes for the new service.

  • North of the city center, the new line would follow Chamberlayne Avenue and Highway 1 to Virginia Center Commons, per GRTC.
  • But to the south of the city center, the options are less obvious, with Richmond Highway, Hull Street and Midlothian Turnpike all options with different potential advantages.

What’s next: It’s a long-range project, and late 2028 is the earliest any new service would begin, says GRTC spokesperson Mike Frontiero.

  • However, he said that could change if new funding sources become available.

Meanwhile, GRTC is working to expand rush-hour capacity on the Pulse, with an order in for high-passenger buses (the kind with an accordion in the middle) that are expected to go into service in the next two to three years, Frontiero says.

  • The longer buses will require longer platforms to be added to all Pulse stations.

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