CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va (WVIR) -
Charlottesville Area Transit riders are planning a meeting for Monday to air their concerns about new bus routes that go into effect January 4. They're hoping the city responds with changes.
Transit Rider President Lena Seville says the meeting will give her a more complete picture of concerns. A primary concern is that implementing city-wide changes in the winter leaves riders out in the cold.
On route 10, the last bus from Martha Jefferson Hospital will leave at 5:50 p.m. The prior schedule showed the last bus leaving the hospital at 6:30 p.m. Seville says patients and employees who leave later will have to find another way home. Charlottesville's transit manager says an extension for that route could be added eventually, pending a funding request.
Seville says riders are worried about several changes to route three. The route will bypass Monticello Vista Apartments, and tenants complain they are left to climb a steep hill. The bus also will not stop at Brown's Grocery Store, a destination for shoppers. Transit officials say some of those changes are designed to cut route times, because there were multiple stops within a few hundred feet.
Route four riders say that the removal of a stop near Johnson Village will force them to walk longer distances at possibly unsafe times.
Seville says there are aspects of the new bus system that she believes riders will find useful. But, she also says that CAT and city council should be willing to fine tune the system and make immediate changes.
"They've pushed to get through these big changes to make the routes more efficient," Seville says. "We would like them to take into account what their customers, the people who ride the bus, need as far as stops that are well located and accessibility issues."
City transit officials say the changes are based on rider input from earlier in the year, but they will continue to re-evaluate the routes once they go into effect Saturday, January 4 and make changes, if needed.
The bus riders meeting will be held on the third floor of the Jefferson Madison Regional Library on East Market Street at 5:00 p.m. Monday.