We got a chance yesterday to ride the GRTC Pulse, Richmond’s new bus rapid transit service that runs from Willow Lawn to Rocketts Landing and back. The 7.6 mile route will run seven days a week from 6:00 AM until 1:00 AM beginning this Sunday, June 24th, and features a fleet of ten new busses that “dock” to the new stations built on the sides and in the medians of Broad and Main Streets, Willow Lawn Drive, and Orleans Street.
Busses run every 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the day and time of day and the routes connect to the existing GRTC bus routes, which are also being optimized beginning next week. Each station includes an interactive map on glass with scannable QR codes that show things to see and do in the neighborhood as well as payment stations that accept cash, coins, cards, and passes. Single, one-way rides are $1.50 and you can buy a day pass for $3.50. Want to bring your bike? Each bus can accommodate up to three of them with a large rack on the front–and the two easternmost stops abut the Virginia Capital Trail.
The busses are all “smart” and “talk to traffic signals along the route. Buses are prioritized before vehicular traffic and essentially get a few seconds’ head start when signals turn green. Crosswalks are timed to allow passengers to cross the road easily at each median stop, and each platform includes a push-to-walk button as well.
The Pulse, as well as the rest of the GRTC bus system, will be free to ride all week beginning Sunday, June 24th. A ribbon cutting for the new route will take place Monday morning, June 25th at 10:00 AM at the Maggie Walker statue in Jackson Ward and feature many notable speakers including Governor Northam, Mayor Levar Stoney, and transportation officials from the local through national levels.
Carrie Rose Pace, Director of Communications for GRTC, gave us a ride-along tour through the entire route for a preview of what to expect and answered many more questions from our viewers as we filmed a Facebook Live video.