Charlottesville Area Transit has dozens of buses criss-crossing the city getting people where they need to go. However, their final destinations could be changing based on rider needs and new development.
Thursday city council and Charlottesville Area Transit staff met to talk about the options. City council got its first look at these rough blue prints to improve service. They were put together with ideas from riders who frequent the city's stops.
Keeping Charlottesville Area Transit buses running is a priority for City Councilor Holly Edwards. "Not everyone has a car and not everyone wants a car so it is a lifeline there are people that rely on public transportation."
Thursday councilors met with CAT staff to start mapping out plans for the city's bus service over the next six years. Short term goals include reaching Martha Jefferson's new campus on Pantops.
Bill Watterson of Charlottesville Area Transit said, "One of the things we've been trying to figure out is given limited resources, what can we do to basically use what we're spending now to get bus routes out to the new Martha Jefferson Hospital."
Long-range hopes include possible routes to the Charlottesville - Albemarle Regional Airport and helping shoppers get to the Kohl's and Target on Route 29.
Watterson said, "Certainly one of the things that have been on their wish list ever since it opened would be to go to the new retail center at Hollymead."
Right now Charlottesville Area Transit relies on a variety of funding sources. It's looking for low-cost, high impact solutions but admits additional dollars will be needed to meet its rider wish list.
Watterson said, "It is a tricky combination and balancing act to get all of those things to come together and project whether we can afford to do additional services."
Edwards stressed that riders should be part of crafting the plan from beginning to end. The council plans to present the ideas and suggestions to the public in a community meeting this spring.
Keith McGilvery joined the NBC29 team in September 2008 as a general assignment reporter. He comes to NBC29 from WEBN-TV at Emerson College where he earned a masters degree in journalism. Email / Full Story