Adding bus service on a 7-mile stretch of Jefferson Davis Highway is being considered by Chesterfield County officials.
County transportation director Jesse Smith spoke about the idea at last week’s board of supervisors meeting.
Detailing what he called a “Route 1 Corridor Transit Study,” Smith said staff considered six options, but he highlighted two options for supervisors at the Sept. 26 meeting. One would use 40-passenger Greater Richmond Transit Co. buses that would run from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. for a $1.50 fare. Another would use 19-passenger Virginia Regional Transit buses that would run from 6:25 a.m. to 6:25 p.m. for a $1 fare.
The GRTC option would offer 75,000 to 100,000 trips per year and cost $1.2 million without any grant funding. The VRT option would include 45,000 to 60,000 trips at year at a cost of $780,000. Smith noted that VRT currently serves 15 communities in the state, including Loudoun County.
The route would go from a Food Lion near the Richmond city limit to John Tyler Community College, south of the Route 10 intersection.
The next step involves hiring a consultant to conduct a resident survey that would take three to six months, Smith said. This “market assessment survey” would help the county determine the right size for bus service.
Federal and state funding are possibilities for any busing plan, he said.
A previous bus service route in the county ran along Routes 60, 150, 1 and 10, but ridership was “fairly poor,” he said.
Although there is no one solution for county residents’ transportation needs, Smith said it is best to start with the area of greatest need, in this case the Jefferson Davis Highway corridor, and expand it later.
He said that a request for proposals went out Sept. 24 to expand Access Chesterfield, which provides transportation to the disabled, 60-plus residents and those who meet federal income guidelines.
During public comment, L.J. McCoy, president of Chesterfield NAACP, asked that the county rename Jefferson Davis Highway in honor of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. “Chesterfield County should not be absent from recognizing [him],” McCoy said.
Supervisor James Holland said the request was worthy of consideration. “I hope we will appropriately honor that great American,” he said of King.
In other news, Smith noted several projects that the county has already secured state Smart Scale funding for: Courthouse Road Trail, $1.2 million; Hopkins/Chippenham park and ride lot and sidewalks, $2.9 million; Hopkins Road sidewalks from Bonniebank to South Melody roads, $967,200; and Harrowgate Road/Cougar Trail sidewalk, $890,000.