By Julia Glendening
Thursday, July 9, 2009
If you’re a rider of the Charlottesville Transit Service’s Route 4A or 4B, you can expect changes at the end of August.
On July 6, 2009,
, the director of Charlottesville Transit Service (CTS), presented bus route changes to City Council that he said would provide Route 4 riders with more direct access to the University of Virginia hospital and would restore service to the Johnson Village neighborhood. The Council unanimously approved the changes, which will go into effect August 22, 2009.
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During his presentation, Watterson told Council that CTS provided 2 million rides in the past fiscal year. He said in the past two years, ridership has increased by a half a million in part because of previous changes such as the adding of service to Charlottesville High School.
Watterson then outlined the changes to the bus routes and emphasized the need for citizens to get to the UVA hospital, which was voiced during an on-board passenger survey in March. Route 4A and 4B will be condensed into one Route 4. Watterson said CTS staff hoped to shorten commuter time to the hospital by accessing it via Cherry Avenue instead of West Main Street. He also said this would be a step in the direction of taking pressure off of West Main Street and would make UVA Hospital the center of the route rather than Downtown Charlottesville.
“Everything that we’ve heard,” said Watterson, “[is that] this is the right thing to do and we can do it without expending additional resources.”
The new Route 4 would also provide service to Johnson Village, off of Shamrock Road, which was removed from the bus system in 2007. A morning and afternoon shuttle that been used since 2007 would be eliminated once the new Route 4 goes into effect.
Routes 6 and 22 will also be changed, but will not be implemented until Brookwood Drive is open for public use. Route 22 already serves Bailey Road and Prospect Avenue after 6:45 p.m., and staff plans to align the two routes once the road can be accessed by the public. Both routes will use Brookwood Drive to connect to 5th Street Extended, Bailey Road, and Prospect Avenue when staff revisits the issue.
“These are things that are going to make our service more convenient, there are things that are going to make our service more affordable and that’s why we are going to continue to grow our ridership,” said Watterson.
congratulated CTS on their hard work, but said he believed other people should also be commended for the increase in ridership. He listed UVA, Albemarle County, and Councilor
as driving forces behind the success of CTS.
asked how CTS plans to alert people of the bus route changes, especially to people who do not currently ride the bus. He said the priority should be to obtain new riders.
Watterson responded by saying advertisements cost money that is not available, but CTS will use empty ad space on buses to promote their own services. He described their marketing approach as “incremental” and suggested implementing grassroots communication to increase ridership.
Edwards suggested working with organizations that encourage people to use alternative transportation and promoting bus transit as an alternative to personal vehicle travel. She also suggested engaging middle and high school students to get their opinions on bus travel and stress the freedom CTS provides to young members of the community.
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