The Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC) will begin rolling out this fall a new public "micro-transit" pilot program called Link in five zones, including the Town of Ashland!
Micro-Transit is defined as a technology-enabled, on-demand public transportation service, using specialized vehicles, such as vans or shuttle buses, and functions basically like Uber or Lyft with riders having the ability to hail and share rides. To access, users within the Ashland zone will download an app and request a ride for transportation within that zone. Pictured below: the Ashland Link Zone.
According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, "micro-transit services can also be 'last mile' connections to serve neighborhoods where people have to walk fairly far to reach a bus route." Or in Ashland's case: the Ashland Amtrack station.
Even better? There is no fare or fee at this time. That's right, Link will be a completely free-of-charge public transportation resource in Ashland!
GRTC received $4 million from Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation's TRIP Program to operate a three-year microtransit pilot program in Powhatan County, Henrico County, Chesterfield County, New Kent County, and the Town of Ashland.
Microtransit is an on-demand system that allows people to book rides in real-time and get picked up and dropped off in designated areas. The service will close transit gaps in rural and suburban districts. Certain zones will make connections to existing high-frequency bus routes.
The creation of the Central Virginia Transportation Authority (CVTA) by the 2020 General Assembly established new funds for priority transportation investments in the Richmond Region. The two main sources of revenue are regional sales and use tax (0.7%) and wholesale gas and diesel tax (7.6 cents and 7.7 cents). The CVTA funds are allocated three ways – 15% to GRTC, 50% to each participating locality proportionally, and 35% for regional projects. GRTC is required to develop a Regional Public Transportation Plan that identifies how GRTC plans to spend the 15% allocation. A micro-transit study was identified as a regional priority during the development of the FY2022 plan. The micro-transit study identified recommendations for a pilot program FY2024.
The Town of Ashland is one of nine participating localities in CVTA, which provides funding and priority-setting planning for regional transportation projects. In fact, Ashland's Vice Mayor John Hodges was recently appointed to serve as Vice Chair of CVTA alongside Mayor Levar Stoney of the City of Richmond who will serve as Chair.
As a proud participating locality in this important regional effort, the Town is excited for enhanced connectivity that is accessible for all in and around our community. We look forward to welcoming Link to our streets soon!
ICYMI: Hanover Dash is another excellent public transportation resource for older individuals and persons with disabilities.