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June 02, 2011

Supervisors seek more information on bus changes

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DailyProgressBy Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Albemarle County of Board of Supervisors has requested more information on how many riders would be affected if transit service to Pantops is adjusted to provide service to the new Martha Jefferson Hospital.

Source: Connetics Group (Click to enlarge)

A transit development plan created for Charlottesville Area Transit recommended that two city routes be realigned in order to provide service to the hospital every 30 minutes. Service to the Woolen Mills and Locust Grove neighborhoods would have been reduced.

“Those changes were rejected by Charlottesville City Council,” said Bill Watterson, director of CAT. “So we have to work with the service that is currently in place that goes to the Pantops area.”

Watterson has been working with county staff to find an alternative that will provide hourly service to the new hospital. On Wednesday he presented the board with a plan that would eliminate service on Route 10 to the Wilton Farms apartment complex and the Veterans Services Administration office on Peter Jefferson Place.

“There hasn’t been very much use of that stop,” Watterson said. “It’s not unheard of that a day can go by and no one uses it.”

However, supervisors asked for data to back up that claim before they make a decision in July.

“We’ve got a lot of veterans in the community and I’m familiar with that facility because I go there,” said Supervisor Lindsay G. Dorrier Jr.

Watterson said CAT had extended service to the VA after requests were made by local veterans groups.

“In a sense it’s been a bit of an experiment and it’s sort of up to you to determine whether the usage level warrants continued service,” Watterson said.

Watterson also wanted to know if the board supports the concept of extending service to the Hollymead Town Center. The transit development plan calls for service to be extended in 2015 using Route 5. That would require additional funding from the county.

“The approximate total cost for that would be about $325,000 a year,” Watterson said. “Exactly what is the county’s share is something that would have to be determined.”

A portion of the funding could come from Hollymead developer Wendell Wood, who is obligated by a proffer to spend $50,000 a year for five years on transit service once a route is established to the shopping center.

Supervisor Kenneth C. Boyd questioned the need to extend service to the Hollymead Town Center.

“That’s right across the street from my district, and I’ve never had anybody bring that up to me,” Boyd said.

Watterson said he would provide more justification for extending service before his next appearance before the board.

“With limited resources, we’re not going to be able to service every destination someone may want,” Watterson said.

The city and county agreed in 2008 to discuss the creation of a regional transit authority with joint governance, but the idea has been shelved due to a lack of funding, as well as unresolved logistical issues.


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