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GRTC suspending all on-board fare collection and enforcement during COVID-19 emergency

Affected service includes all Pulse, local, and express commuter bus routes and all CARE services, except CARE On-Demand.

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GRTC is suspending all on-board fare collection and enforcement during the COVID-19 emergency effective March 19, 2020. Affected service includes all Pulse, local, and express commuter bus routes and all CARE services, except CARE On-Demand.

Bus passengers are instructed to enter and exit through the rear doors only and sit behind the accessibility-reserved seating area. Front-door access will be permitted only for passengers needing the boarding ramp or operator assistance to access the bus. ADA accessible seating space near the front of the bus is reserved for individuals in mobility devices, individuals in need of special assistance, and families with children in strollers.

GRTC Chief Executive Officer Julie Timm says, “In continuing service during this state of emergency, our first priority remains the safety, health, and financial well-being of our employees, their families, and our riders. By eliminating close interactions at bus fareboxes, we can better implement social distancing by avoiding interaction in this high contact space.” GRTC also added an additional Pulse bus to service so riders may spread out on more buses. The Pulse system still has high passenger loads despite overall decreased ridership.

GRTC provides lifeline employment and health connections for many of our riders and is the primary source of income for nearly 500 GRTC employees. Timm explains, “We take our obligation to provide that service very seriously. GRTC is closely monitoring updates on the COVID-19 virus spread in Virginia so that we may continue to take all reasonable precautions to address the risk and to maintain core service for the critical mobility and economic needs of our community. I maintain a high level of confidence in the safety of our service for our employees and our riders; however, we are asking all riders to assist in protecting our service by eliminating all non-essential trips and following all recommended health precautions and social distancing.”

GRTC frontline staff, including Operators, Supervisors, Cleaners, and Mechanics, are taking every reasonable precaution to protect themselves and each other while serving the public. GRTC has doubled the frequency of cleanings on all vehicles. GRTC and RideFinders’ offices are closed to the public. All GRTC public meetings are canceled. For the most complete and latest GRTC updates during this pandemic, please visit our website.

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Downtown

GRTC says riders should expect delays as a number of drivers quarantine

GRTC cautions customers to expect significant service delays this week, for at least the next several days, until COVID-19 test results return for employees in quarantine from contact tracing efforts. On Sunday, there were several routes with missed service in the morning, and more service was expected to be missed Sunday afternoon and evening.

RVAHub Staff

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GRTC cautions customers to expect significant service delays this week, for at least the next several days, until COVID-19 test results return for employees in quarantine from contact tracing efforts. On Sunday, there were several routes with missed service in the morning, and more service was expected to be missed Sunday afternoon and evening.

Customers making essential trips on GRTC are advised to secure alternate transportation to reach their destinations. The Customer Service Call Center is open until 5PM to assist customers with bus tracking (804-358-4782). If a customer is stranded at a bus stop this afternoon waiting for a bus that is not in service, they should call Customer Service 804-358-4782 to ask about GRTC Emergency Ride Home options from their bus stop.

GRTC Chief Executive Officer Julie Timm explains, “We continue to proactively quarantine any possible COVID-contacts for the safety of our staff and customers, but this means employees are removed from their duties and causes service delays to our customers. I know how frustrating it is to wait for a bus that never comes, and I ask our customers for understanding during this difficult time of rising cases in the community. We have not had any outbreaks yet among GRTC staff and we believe that is a testament to our aggressive COVID-safety protocols. The health and safety of our staff is critical to preserving reliable transit service, and this is why I believe it is essential for our transportation frontline staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the first round, not the second round as tentatively planned.”

There are six GRTC employees currently on leave with COVID-19, five of whom are recovering at home. Contact tracing is underway for the most recent case, but the previous five cases were suspected to have been contracted off-duty from other family members or non-work community activities. As positive cases are identified, GRTC proactively notifies, quarantines, and tests for any possible contact. This process is in accordance with guidance provided by the Virginia Department of Health. The full list of confirmed staff and contractor cases is available online.

GRTC continues to host periodic on-site, free COVID-19 testing events for staff, including the next event on December 10th. For the most complete and latest GRTC updates during this pandemic, please visit our website.

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People

Richmond honeymooners camping out in Cape Hatteras parking lot after storm causes suspension of ferry service

A Richmond couple who planned to spend their honeymoon in Ocracoke, North Carolina has been camping out in the Hatteras Ferry Terminal parking lot after ocean overwash caused the closure of NC Highway 12 and the suspension of ferry service.

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A Richmond couple who planned to spend their honeymoon in Ocracoke, North Carolina has been camping out in the Hatteras Ferry Terminal parking lot after ocean overwash caused the closure of NC Highway 12 and the suspension of ferry service.

From the Ocracoke Observer:

Katie and Matt Oldhouser didn’t expect to spend most of their honeymoon this week in the Hatteras Ferry Terminal parking lot.

They are among those in about two dozen vehicles that have been waiting in the stacking lanes since Sunday afternoon hoping for passage to Ocracoke Island but were thwarted again on Wednesday.

A large wave swell from the passing of Hurricane Teddy well offshore has battered the Outer Banks. Since Sunday, the ocean has over washed the hot points at high tides at the north end of Ocracoke and the northern part of Pea Island between the Basnight Bridge and Rodanthe.

“While we’d hoped to be able to open NC 12 today, the ocean had other plans,” the NCDOT posted Wednesday on its Facebook page. “The road will remain closed between the Basnight Bridge and Rodanthe as well as on Ocracoke between the Pony Pens and the Ferry Terminal until at least noontime Thursday.”

Continue reading here.

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Government

GRTC offering new shuttle to City Office of the General Registrar leading up to election

Beginning Wednesday, September 23, GRTC is offering riders a safe and accessible shuttle service to reach the new City of Richmond’s Office of the General Registrar, which was recently relocated to a larger facility with more room to observe social distancing for in-person absentee voting.

RVAHub Staff

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Beginning Wednesday, September 23, GRTC is offering riders a safe and accessible shuttle service to reach the new City of Richmond’s Office of the General Registrar, which was recently relocated to a larger facility with more room to observe social distancing for in-person absentee voting. Pre-election day services are available through October 31 at the new building at 2134 West Laburnum Avenue, Richmond, Virginia 23227.

Smaller, nimbler shuttle vans pick up passengers Monday – Saturday from two popular connection points in the GRTC bus network: 9th and Marshall on the North side of City Hall, and Broad and Robinson on the North side of the street by the Science Museum of Virginia. GRTC remains zero-fare, and shuttles are free to ride, as well, with funding support provided by the City of Richmond.

The service operates hourly. Weekday trips start at City Hall at 7:45 AM and run once an hour, with the last trip leaving the registrar’s location at 5:15 PM. Additional early voting service operates once an hour on both Saturday October 24 and 31 from 8:45 AM until the last trip at 5:15 PM.

CARE customers can continue to use CARE van service for free and may schedule trips to the new registrar’s office.

The Office of the General Registrar is open as a pre-election day voting location starting September 18 through October 31 from 8 AM to 5 PM, Monday to Friday, except holidays, and 9 AM to 5 PM the two Saturdays before every election. Additional pre-election day voting locations open October 24 through October 31 at City Hall (900 East Broad Street) and Hickory Hill Community Center (3000 East Belt Boulevard) on weekdays 8 AM to 5 PM and on Saturdays from 9 AM to 5 PM.

The last date to vote early in-person is October 31. For a complete list of Election Day (November 3) polling locations, most of which have a bus stop nearby, click here.

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