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GRTC hosting two public meetings regarding changes to bus service in Henrico

The first will take place today, August 27th at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center at noon; a second meeting in the West End is Thursday.

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GRTC will host two public meetings this week to discuss route changes to bus lines in Henrico County that will affect many riders of the system.

The first will take place today, August 27th at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center (in the Randolph Classroom) at 1440 N. Laburnum Avenue.

The second will occur Thursday, August 30th at Libbie Mill Library (in the Meeting Room), located at 2100 Libbie Lake East Street.

Both meetings are identical and begin at noon.

Meeting locations are accessible to persons with disabilities.

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Trevor Dickerson is the co-founder and editor of RVAhub.com, lover of all things Richmond, and a master of karate and friendship for everyone.

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Expect delays on GRTC today as bus operators take leave to get COVID-19 testing

For the second time this week, GRTC is cautioning all riders that there may be significant service disruptions or cancelations Friday while some bus Operators take paid leave to be voluntarily tested for COVID-19 after GRTC’s first positive Operator case.

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For the second time this week, GRTC is cautioning all riders that there may be significant service disruptions or cancelations Friday while some bus Operators take paid leave to be voluntarily tested for COVID-19 after GRTC’s first positive Operator case. As staff await results, which can take a day or two, GRTC requests that customers prepare to make alternative arrangements for all essential trips through this weekend.

The delays follow a disruption on Monday in which about half of drivers called out due to failure of the transit employees’ union coming to an agreement over hazard pay.

GRTC plans to ensure there is at least one bus in service on all routes Friday, but that means many routes have hourly service. Bus resources continue to be prioritized to high-ridership routes to encourage social distancing on-board.

During the day if GRTC does not have enough Operations staff on duty to put at least minimal service on most routes, GRTC may need to cancel fixed-route service entirely. If this happens, GRTC will put on-demand service in place for urgent and essential trips to medical facilities that cannot be met due to canceled transit services. This will only be available if bus service is significantly disrupted or canceled, and the number for on-demand service will be released with a new service disruption notice.

All critical health care trips on GRTC CARE service will be met. All service impacts will be posted on GRTC’s website and communicated through Customer Service at 804-358-4782.

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Downtown

Commonwealth Transportation Board allocates Federal CARES Act Funding to Virginia public transit systems

The Commonwealth Transportation Board approved the allocation of nearly $100 million of the $456 million in federal public transportation funding apportioned to Virginia by the CARES Act.

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The Commonwealth Transportation Board approved the allocation of nearly $100 million of the $456 million in federal public transportation funding apportioned to Virginia by the CARES Act. The stimulus funds will enable local governments, small urban, and rural transit agencies throughout the Commonwealth to offset the substantial revenue losses, as well as sustain essential mobility functions related to the prevention, preparation, and response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our public transit agencies are the backbone of our economy and ensure critical movement of goods and people in all of our communities,” stated Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “This relief helps Virginia’s transit systems continue essential services and operations, and also offset the substantial costs of driver salaries, sanitization supplies, and protective equipment purchased to combat the Coronavirus and its aftermath.”

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which includes $25 billion in federal transit assistance. The Commonwealth of Virginia was apportioned $456 million as follows:

  • $356.6 million distributed directly to urban public transit agencies.
  • $47.2 million to the Commonwealth of Virginia for discretionary allocation to small urban transit agencies.
  • $52.5 million to the Commonwealth of Virginia for discretionary allocation to rural transit agencies, the Virginia Breeze intercity bus service, and the Appalachian Development Public Transportation Program.

The CTB amended DRPT’s FY 2020-2025 Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP) to reflect the nearly $100 million in discretionary funding as follows:

  • 100% of small urban transit agency funding according to the existing formula utilized by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Small urban agencies can apply directly to the FTA for their share of funding (CARES Act Section 5307 Apportionment Split Letter).
  • 50% of rural transit agency funding according to the FY2020 allocation formula for FTA rural operating funding. (CARES Act Section 5311 Initial Distribution)
  • 15% of rural transit agency funding to the Virginia Breeze intercity bus program.
  • 35% of remaining rural transit agency and Appalachian Development Public Transportation Program funding to be held in reserve to address critical transit agency needs and administrative support for management of the CARES Act program.

The federal CARES Act funding does not require a state or local match and is nearly three times the amount of federal transit funding appropriated to Virginia transit agencies in FY 2020. All operating and capital uses are eligible, retroactive to January 20, 2020, and include purchases of personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning equipment, and payment of administrative leave for employees.

CARES Act funding comes in addition to the $11 million in emergency statewide operating funding approved by the CTB last month, which has also allowed many Virginia public transit agencies to offset revenue and ridership losses and provide essential trips fare-free.

“The CARES Act will offer much-needed relief to our transit agencies that continue to endure ridership and revenue losses,” stated Director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation, Jennifer Mitchell. “The funding will have a profound impact on the public transportation industry and its ability to recover from the pandemic.”

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Downtown

Significant GRTC delays expected Monday after more than half of bus drivers call out of work

Approximately half of the necessary workforce reported for duty as of 4:30 AM, according to GRTC officials.

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If you take the bus, be prepared for significant delays around town today.

GRTC is modifying service today as a result of an operator call-out, when bus drivers scheduled to work for shifts do not report to work. Approximately half of the necessary workforce is reporting for duty as of 4:30AM. Therefore, GRTC is adjusting service today where buses run about once an hour.

Customers are strongly cautioned to expect significant service delays. Most buses not normally operating once an hour will be severely disrupted. Customer Service will be open from 6AM-7PM today to assist riders at 804-358-4782.

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