HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) - Hopewell is offering its citizens something they haven't had in more than four decades in the city-- public transportation. Today, the city launched a passenger bus service.
Hopewell and Petersburg teamed up to create the Hopewell Circular Bus Route. Residents like Lorraine Cooke are thrilled.
NICOLE: "How do you get around Hopewell?"
Lorraine Cooke: "Well I'm walking and usually if I don't walk, I'll catch a cab."
Cooke says public bus transportation will help her get to where she needs to be without relying on friends or family.
"It's hard on me when I need a ride and it's not there for me," Cooke said.
The route starts at the crossings on Oaklawn Boulevard. There are 34 stops in Hopewell, including stops in the Downtown area. Riders can also transfer to buses that will take them to Fort Lee, Chesterfield and Richmond.
Hopewell's mayor says the new system offers independence and access.
"It allows educational opportunities, job opportunities, various quality of life opportunities to citizens who wouldn't have this because of lack of transportation," said Mayor Christina Luman-Bailey.
Hopewell received a 3 year grant totaling about $454,00 to fund the project. When the money runs out...
"We can always work on getting more grants and looking at other ways to fund it," said Mayor Luman-Bailey.
It will cost $1 to ride the bus and 10 cents to transfer. Engineers in Petersburg and Hopewell designed the route for maximum coverage.
"We wanted to target neighborhoods where people need access to public transportation, so we focused on where we put stops in neighborhoods," said Mayor Luman-Bailey.
As for Cooke, she's walking home today, but that will soon change.
"I'm going to be using it. I am until I get me a car," said Cooke
It took just over 2 years to make this bus route a reality. The bus route also makes stops at the courthouse, Department of Social Services, as well as, the Cavalier Shopping Center in Hopewell.
Click here for the Hopewell routes.