Community input helped with planning GRTC bus routes

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)  — Richmond residents are concerned about who’s riding the bus. As GRTC fine tunes its bus routes, some worry about residents from rival neighborhoods riding on the same bus.

GRTC says it has few issues concerning teens from rival neighborhoods riding on the same bus. Regardless, steps were still taken Wednesday to make sure things stay that way.

Richmond community activist Omari Al-Qadaffi is also a father of a teenage son, and like any concerned parent, he wonders if his child would get caught in the middle of any rival neighborhood squabbles.

“I’m not going to say I’m not concerned, my son also attends Armstrong High School, so I did have a talk with him because we live near Wickham,” Al-Qadaffi explained. ” I said, ‘hey, do they consider you to be a Wickham kid? When you go to school, are you looked at like one of the Wickham kids? Because we live around here.’ He said, ‘no I went to school with all those Mosby kids, they all know me and stuff.’

“So there is a concern because that is something you have to be aware of you know when you live in the community.”

GRTC held 14 public meetings to get input from the community on devising bus routes. Although GRTC spokeswoman Carrie Rose Pace said there have been very few issues concerning teenagers from rival neighborhoods riding transit buses, she said the public did express some concerns about the issues.

“What we heard from the public was concern between residents in the Creighton area as well as the Mosby area,” Rose Pace said. “Today, they are not on the same bus route and in the future they will not be on the same bus route.”

Rose Pace said the Wickham and Mosby neighborhoods are on the same bus routes because the public input indicated those communities get along.

In the meantime, some routes were planned to help passengers and students have a shorter walk through neighborhoods where they may not be welcome.

“So, even as simple as walking to two blocks, it makes a big difference in specific neighborhoods,” Rose Pace said.

Al-Qadaffi echoed the same.

“It’s different when you’re thinking at night I’m in an unsafe community, I have to walk two further blocks, it’s dark and I have these two streets that I don’t even want to walk,” he said. “That’s a component that people don’t really grasp.”

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