GRTC Pulse service delays start

Jeremy Lazarus | 8/11/2017, 11:14 a.m.
The new GRTC Pulse bus rapid transit no longer is expected to be completed, tested and operating by the end ...

The new GRTC Pulse bus rapid transit no longer is expected to be completed, tested and operating by the end of October.

GRTC had advertised on its weekly updates that Pulse would arrive in 2017, but that changed in recent updates to “arriving soon.”

One year into the construction of the $65 million project, and with station construction now underway at 12 of the 14 stops on the 7.6-mile route, “there is not an opening date set yet for Pulse service,” GRTC spokeswoman Carrie Rose Pace acknowledged to the Free Press.

“The goal remains to meet early completion by the end of 2017,” she stated, but added that the “contract is open until June 30, 2018, if needed.”

Richmond City Councilwoman Ellen F. Robertson, who chairs the council’s Land Use, Housing and Transportation Committee, said she was notified last week that it could be December or January before service could start.

She said she would not be surprised if Pulse service began in March, though she said that she, too, was told that, at this point, there is no specific date set for operations to begin.

GRTC has said that once the work is done, there will be a period of testing before service starts.

The Pulse is to run primarily on Main and Broad streets between Rocketts Landing to the east and The Shops at Willow Lawn to the west.

The special Pulse buses are to run every 10 minutes during rush hour and every 15 minutes at other times. They are to be equipped with sensors to keep traffic lights on green in order to expedite each run.

The opening of Pulse will be accompanied by major changes in regular bus routes, with the aim of improving service and ensuring easy connection with Pulse.

GRTC is holding a series of public meetings this week to outline the bus route changes that will go into effect on the same Sunday that Pulse service begins.

An informational meeting is to be held 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10, at the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, 2300 W. Broad St., with the final meeting set for 12:30 to 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11, at the new Sarah Garland Jones Center, 2600 Nine Mile Road.