New quarterly ridership data released this week shows that GRTC is bucking the national trend of transit ridership decline. When comparing GRTC’s ridership on the old network July to December 2017 to the same 2018 period on the new network, GRTC’s ridership increased by 11% from 3,765,552 riders in FY18 to 4,172,096 riders in FY19. Looking back farther to FY17, there are more people riding GRTC now than at any point during the past ten quarters.
GRTC Interim Chief Executive Officer Charlie Mitchell says, “We are extremely pleased to see this new data verifies what we’ve witnessed during the past six months in our redesigned network. It also proves that a transit system, in partnership with localities and funding partners, can modernize and reverse ridership decline. The Pulse has certainly been the catalyst supporting change and ridership increases.”
This week’s data, which provides ridership information through the end of 2018, shows GRTC is countering the national trend of transit ridership decline and is a model of the success that happens after modernizing a transit system. The Pulse, which is GRTC’s busiest bus route, increased ridership by nearly 16% from Quarter 1 (July – September 2018) at 416,186 total riders to Quarter 2 (October – December 2018) at 481,825 total riders. This is a remarkable increase in usage of a new mode of service that just debuted June 24, 2018. The average weekday ridership continues to far exceed expectations, with Pulse average weekday ridership now at 6,106 (Q2). The goal was 3,500 weekday riders during project planning.
In addition to providing more attractive, reliable service across the network serving primarily the City of Richmond and Henrico County, GRTC is in pilot year, pre-paid service agreements with Virginia Commonwealth University and Richmond Public Schools. Riders from both VCU and RPS are clearly contributing to the increase in ridership noted between Q1 to Q2.
It is no surprise that some of the most popular routes in GRTC’s new network are the most frequent routes operating every 15 minutes, such as the 1A/B/C, 2A/B/C and 5 serving major corridors like Main, Cary, Chamberlayne, Hull and Midlothian. GRTC’s redesigned bus routes are built on a frequency model, prioritizing more frequent routes offering attractive service every 15 minutes with shorter waits between buses at stops in more densely populated areas.
Henrico County’s three routes significantly enhanced in September 2018 have also shown ridership increases. The Nine Mile Henrico Routes 7A/B combined now transport nearly 10,000 riders weekly, double what they used to carry. In the West End, the extended Route 19 West Broad now transports more than 4,000 riders weekly, nearly quadruple what this route used to produce. Across the county from West to East, the Route 91 Laburnum now carries a thousand more passengers weekly than before night and weekend service was added.
GRTC continues its momentum forward, and we welcome riders to continue to connect with us about how we can further respond to the needs of the communities we serve. Customers with route or stop amenity requests are encouraged to contact us by filling out this Request Form.Download