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GRTC rolling out bus service expansions

A person reads information on a digital tablet
Shaban Athuman
VPM News File
A person looks at the information on a tablet as they transfer buses at the GRTC downtown transfer station on Monday, September 11, 2023 in Richmond, Virginia.

Changes include new regional microtransit zone, expanded access to Richmond International Airport.

Richmond-area transit users will have expanded service options as the Greater Richmond Transit Company rolls out a set of route changes.

One of the biggest alterations is the expansion of GRTC’s LINK microtransit service to eastern Henrico County. Starting Monday, riders in the Sandston and Elko areas — one of the zones identified in a 2021 study — will be able to use the Transit on the Go app to request curb-to-curb transportation that operates like a ride-share service.

GRTC spokesperson Henry Bendon said the service provides riders a “safe and easy” solution along routes with poor pedestrian infrastructure or without enough density for a fixed bus route.

All LINK vans are wheelchair accessible and should arrive within 20 minutes after matching in the app. And like all other GRTC services, LINK will be free to riders.

LINK, which GRTC first rolled out in 2023, also services areas around Azalea Avenue and Meadowbridge Road in Henrico, Ashland in Hanover County, Hull Street Road in Chesterfield County and Anderson Highway in Powhatan County.

In addition to the LINK expansion, GRTC is altering and extending routes to better serve riders looking to access Reynolds Community College’s Parham Road campus, Johnston-Willis Hospital and Richmond International Airport.

Other trips along Route 1 will extend 3.5 miles beyond the current northern endpoint at Chamberlayne Road and Wilmer Avenue to reach the Reynolds campus on Parham Road. The extended route, with 16 new stops, will run every 30 minutes on weekdays and hourly during late-night and weekend service.

A loop at Koger Center Boulevard will add four stops on Route 1A in order to make it easier for riders to get to the hospital.

For airport travelers and workers, one additional late-night trip will run along Routes 7A and 7B from RIC to the Downtown Transfer Station.

Bendon said this change will be followed by additional expansions in October. GRTC plans to increase airport service with a high-frequency core route running every 15 minutes from downtown to the airport, while adding an extra inbound trip.

Having a reliable connection for airport travelers and employees is going to be a “game changer,” Bendon said.

Further upgrades to transit service in Henrico are also on the docket, and the Route 1 line is being studied for a future north-south expansion of the Pulse rapid transit system.

A closer look at service changes:

  • Microtransit service coming to Sandston/Elko area: Starting July 1, GRTC’s LINK service will operate 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Like all GRTC services, LINK is fare-free.
  • Extension of Route 1: GRTC is extending Route 1 to reach Reynolds Community College’s Parham Road campus. Other trips will continue beyond the current northern terminus at Chamberlayne Road and Wilmer Avenue, with 30-minute frequency on weekdays and 60-minute frequency during late-night and weekend service.
  • Improving hospital access on Route 1A: GRTC will add a loop at Koger Center Drive on Route 1A to improve access to Johnston-Willis Hospital. Four additional stops will be served by buses traveling in both directions. 
  • More trips between downtown Richmond and Richmond International Airport: GRTC is adding a late-night trip to Routes 7A and 7B to serve RIC customers and staff who need to get to the Downtown Transfer Station.
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