WASHINGTON -- A meeting of the city council's Land Use, Housing and Transportation committee today will provide the first forum for discussing Greater Richmond Transit Company's proposal to eliminate seven bus routes in its system, including Route 16 between the university and downtown.
Bruce W. Tyler, the councilman who represents Richmond's West End, told The Collegian that no decisions would be made hastily and likely not before Sept. 1, when the cuts would take effect assuming the council approves GRTC's proposal.
Tyler immediately questioned whether GRTC had exhausted all of its options to trim down operational costs.
"I'm not sure the cancellation of the route is justified at this point, or whether it's a political move to extrapolate more money from the city," Tyler said. "We've already donated $10.6 million [to GRTC's budget]. It's not like we haven't done anything."
During the meeting, set for 3 p.m. today on the second floor of City Hall at 900 E. Broad St., GRTC's chief executive officer John Lewis Jr. will present findings from an 18-month analysis that examined the system's routes. GRTC has recommended cutting seven of them in a cost-saving measure because budget cuts made by the city council several months ago have left it with no choice, Lewis said.
But by law, the company cannot eliminate the routes without council approval.
Speaking on behalf of the university will be Carl Sorensen, associate vice president of human resources, who spearheaded an effort to provide 150 free bus passes to university employees. Community members, including students and staff, were expected to attend the meeting, and an e-mail sent to supporters for the campus group RENEW late Monday night urged its members to speak out at the meeting against the proposal because of the group's plans to push for increased use of mass transit.
The full council will meet 6 p.m. on July 28, also at 900 E. Broad St. on the second floor to discuss the issue. Tyler expressed doubt that the council would make a decision by that meeting.
"The process is going to take some time," he said.
Collegian staff writer Dan Petty reported this story from Washington, D.C.
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