Watterson presents CTS route changes; Council skeptical of County service increase

By Sean Tubbs

Charlottesville Tomorrow

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The City Council has heard details of proposed changes to certain

Charlottesville Transit Service

routes, including a modification of Route 1B to serve the Mill Creek neighborhood in

Albemarle County

.  Council will decide on whether to implement the changes during their upcoming discussion of the budget for fiscal year 2011.

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On Monday, CTS Director Bill Watterson presented an annual report on the industry, including a look at how Charlottesville fares when compared to transit systems in other communities.  He attributed ridership gains to increased partnership with the

University Transit Service

, better marketing campaigns and the central role played by the

Downtown Transit Station


“What the Downtown Transit Station has brought to Charlottesville is a lot of order from what used to be chaos,” said Watterson.  In addition, Watterson said route transfers are much more efficient, riders have a comfortable place to wait, and real-time bus tracking information has also helped improve the ability of riders to use the system.

Download CTS Director Watterson’s presentation in .PDF form

At the conclusion, he suggested making the following route changes:

Click to enlarge


Dave Norris

said he would like to be able extend transit to Mill Creek which could bring access to the



Monticello High School

and several apartment complexes. However he said he was concerned changes to Route 1B would increase service in Albemarle County at the expense of Charlottesville.

Watterson said the county is not in a position to contribute additional funding at this time.  He said Belmont residents would benefit through the increased headways on Route 3 and 6.

“There is no intent to be taking service away from Belmont,” Watterson said.  He did acknowledge that some residents of that neighborhood would have to walk further to a bus stop.

Norris said he was not satisfied, but would wait to hear more details about potential county funding.

“If the only way that we can increase service in the county is by decreasing service in the city, I don’t see us being able to defend that publicly in the City,” Norris said.

Watterson said when he comes back to Council, he would provide information for how much the cost for increasing the service on Route 1B would be for Albemarle County.

Click to enlarge


Satyendra Huja

said service to Greenbrier could be done without additional cost by extending Route 9, which serves Charlottesville High School. Watterson said he was hesitant to change that route, which he said was put together up with input from the Greenleaf, Rose Hill and the Tenth and Page neighborhood associations.

“Each of them expressed what they would like to see connected,”  Watterson said. “All of those things have translated into higher ridership on Route 9.”  He added that if the

Meadowcreek Parkway

is complete, transit routes will be opened up in northern Charlottesville.

Huja also said the incoming new president of UVA would present an opportunity to ask the University to consider a merger with the University Transit Service. Councilor

Kristin Szakos

said she would support a combined service, but urged the City to put pressure on UTS to pay its drivers a living wage.


David Brown

pointed out that UVA has concerns about such a merger, but that he has been impressed by the efforts to increase the working partnership between the two transit agencies.