Good Decision — but What Was the Reasoning?


Richmond City Council should get out of the business of designating and changing bus routes for the GRTC, the Greater Richmond transit corporation. So says a transit study task force in a newly released study.

States the study:

The Task Force recommends this responsibility be transferred to the GRTC Board of Trustees who is responsible for acquiring, operating, leasing or otherwise providing for the operation of a public transportation system. … The Task Force believes GRTC is capable of making appropriate decisions regarding the routes as GRTC has proven to be good stewards overall of their budget and efficiency.

I agree that it is probably a good idea to take decision-making over bus routes out of the hands of city council persons, who are tempted to protect money-losing routes that serve their constituents. It’s a cliche but it’s true: I frequently see buses that run nearly empty. Such inefficiency is intolerable. Allowing GRTC the flexibility to prune loser routes gives it the financial wherewithal to introduce new routes that serve more customers, lose less money (or, heaven forbid, actually make money) and benefit more people.

What I found disappointing about the report is that it did not lay out that logic explicitly, nor did it provide any supporting documentation. Perhaps task force members did not want to offend anyone on City Council or scare them with a list of routes to be terminated. What we’re left with, unfortunately, is a pretty mealy-mouthed justification. The task force passed up an opportunity to articulate important principles.


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One response to “Good Decision — but What Was the Reasoning?”

  1. larryg Avatar

    We just had the local transit folks show up to present “options” for cutting routes as a result of less funding …

    The transit folks wanted “guidance” from the county on what routes in the county should be cut back.

    I can see both sides of the issue but if funding is what fuels the transit and choices must be made about service, isn’t that an issue for the elected?

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