Nearly half of Petersburg’s bus lines could vanish within months - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Nearly half of Petersburg’s bus lines could vanish within months

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PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) -

Six of Petersburg's 13 bus routes could disappear to improve efficiency and save taxpayer money, in a proposed revamp of the Petersburg Area Transit System.

The plan would impact PAT riders who travel by bus from Petersburg to Fort Lee and the Southpark Mall. City Manager William Johnson III included the plan within his proposed budget for fiscal year 2013 – 2014.

According to Public Works Director Steven Hicks, Petersburg will consider reducing or cutting service to six routes: Fort Lee, Southpark Mall, Pocahontas Island, Central State, Virginia Avenue, and Ettrick.

Busses serving the under performing routes would be redirected to the most popular bus lines, creating shorter wait times for passengers. The routes expected to receive more busses include Washington Street, South Crater Road, and Walnut Hill.

"Our goal on certain high performance routes is that every 30 minutes we'll be there," said Hicks in an interview Friday. "And, we'll be there on time."

The move will save taxpayers an estimated $1.2 million, but will cut off access to Fort Lee and Southpark Mall, economic engines in the area.

"We've seen Fort Lee move to more of a taxi system to get their civilians and soldiers to base," Hicks said. Fewer people are taking the bus to Southpark, with more patrons from suburban areas relying on cars.

The least popular PAT routes serve between eight to 10 passengers an hour, according to Petersburg officials. The changes will go into effect pending the City Council's approval of the budget.

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