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Local Community Organizer Requesting Federal Investigation into Redesigned Bus Transit Network

Omari Al-Qadaffi argues that the redesign of the GRTC transit network negatively impacts minorities and low income residents. This affects residents in the East End as well. Last year, Omari argued that transportation access is essential for social justice in an article on the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Imagine not having reliable transportation, and constantly having to figure out how to get to work, how to transport your family, how to maintain extracurricular activities, and how to access well-rounded activities for your family.

Not only are you car-less, you also live on a side of town where public transportation routes are less frequent and limited. While taxi cabs and car services such as Uber and Lyft sound easy, when maneuvering on a daily basis they are quite costly. And to top it off, the majority of your social circle is in the same predicament, so catching a ride with someone is really not an option because most of your acquaintances do not drive.

For a moment, sit with these questions: What would you do? How would you handle transportation for yourself and your family? How would this affect your current life, personally and professionally?

If you took the time to react to the questions above, chances are that you felt a bit of stress and anxiety, just at the thought. And unfortunately, this is a regular consideration for many of our Richmond-area population — especially those residing in communities that are more polarized by a lower socio-economic status.

Many times, when people think of community justice, transportation isn’t the first thing that comes to mind; rather wealth, opportunity, and privilege distribution. Yet when you consider these characterizations and how limited access or simple lack of transportation plays out, we learn that transportation must be intimately woven into the community justice conversation.

This time, the stakes are real. GRTC recently made some sweeping changes in its routes around Richmond that are now affecting the services in neighborhoods where Black and low-income residents reside. Check out the press release below:

Omari writes, “GRTC is the most transparent agency/department in the city. No joke. All you have to do is read and listen. This is from their Title VI Plan, which they are required to publish every 3 years. This one was put out the same day that City Council voted on to allow the new bus system. These were the demographics of the old routes in the East End”.

The Leaders of the New South also shared how this affected the Fulton neighborhood:

The Fulton neighborhood of Richmond, Virginia is a historically Black once affluent thriving community brought to poverty by racially targeted government policies. The Richmond Transit Network Plan originally would have further excluded this community socio-economically. Numerous advocates mobilized to fight to retain bus coverage for this neighborhood and other transit dependent neighborhoods in Richmond.

Leaders of the New South – Community Council for Housing
Fulton's Bus Coverage Battle Victory

The Fulton neighborhood of Richmond, Virginia is a historically Black once affluent thriving community brought to poverty by racially targeted government policies. The Richmond Transit Network Plan originally would have further excluded this community socieconomically. Numerous advocates mobilized to fight to retain bus coverage for this neighborhood and other transit dependent neighborhoods in Richmond.

Posted by Leaders Of the New South – Community Council for Housing on Thursday, August 3, 2017

The group also recently posted a video with the question: Who are the GRTC’s new redesigned bus routes for?

GRTC's Redesign is Meant For White Flight Return

City of Richmond's head of transportation explains that the redesign of GRTC's network was not meant for current bus riders but for gentrifers moving back into the city after White flight.

Posted by Leaders Of the New South – Community Council for Housing on Thursday, February 28, 2019

What can you do?

It’s become a mantra around here: get involved. The Mayorathon is this evening, voice your opinion directly to our Richmond leadership team. In order to effect change, “The more we consider one another in our planning, thinking, and strategy, the closer we will be to creating a united Richmond that we can all be proud to call home.”

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Chris
Chris
1 year ago

How about stop relying on others and get your OWN vehicle?

SA Chaplin
SA Chaplin
1 year ago

I, too, would welcome an investigation of GRTC. I would like to know why city council spent millions of dollars to add the Pulse line at a time when mass transit use has, for years now, been falling in almost every city in the country. Also, for more than 15 years now I have observed countless empty busses traversing City of Richmond streets. I would like to know how much money GRTC loses each year, and who subsidizes those losses. Meanwhile, I will be looking over my copies of the state and US Constitutions (and will be consulting the writings… Read more »

MP
MP
1 year ago

The city convened a group that looked at ways to reduce poverty in the city. They published a report and one of the recommendations was the Pulse. And then they built the Pulse. The whole point of this is to make it easier for people to get to a lot of jobs in the West End. That’s why there is increased service in those areas. DUH! http://www.richmondgov.com/CommissionAntiPoverty/CommissionDocuments.aspx He should get *no* press time for this nonsense. This self-described “transit expert” doesn’t even know the recent history of the project he’s describing. Look – Richmond actually did a good thing here… Read more »

Mary Anne
Mary Anne
1 year ago

Omari, these two do not speak for me or for a lot of people I know.

Mark
Mark
1 year ago

Sounds like people are butthurt some of the routes changed.. You know it is possible yo get your own transportation; you can get a moped for dirt cheap.

I’m sick of people trying to be the victim all the time.

Charles
Charles
1 year ago

Given that “Leaders of the New South” is just Omari’s other handle/ sock puppet, could we please not see them treated as different things?

mini
mini
1 year ago

It’s crazy to me that people seem to think that reliable, good-quality transportation is some sort of unreasonable standard. This is the US. Even developing countries have accessible mass transportation. The people who talk about public transportation as if it were some sort of charity (bus tickets cost money, ya know?) are probably the same people who complain about traffic. Mass transport is obviously more efficient, less polluting, and more conducive to population health (more walking) and economic development (higher foot traffic areas become more marketable). Have you seen the trains in Japan? Would you say Japanese people are lazy… Read more »

Chris
Chris
1 year ago

Mini, let me know when you finally have something intelligent to say.

Bill
Bill
1 year ago

I ride the local bus and pulse almost every day, and I can’t tell you how much better it js now than it was before the redesign. I live in Blackwell and can tell you that GRTC is not out to put minorities down. One of the major purposes of the redesign was to increase the efficiency of each route and that’s what they did. There are FEWER empty buses and the new routes make more sense than the ridiculously redundant routes that existed before which, mind you, had not changed since they were created with the tram system. Neighborhoods… Read more »

Juliette M Dixon
Juliette M Dixon
1 year ago

Since the Pulse bus began it’s operation it has caused many elderly and disabled people alot of trouble. It now takes me 3 hours to get home and to medical appointments in the West End. For those of you who don’t ride the bus go to major cities like Philly, NYC, & even DC and know that transportation takes them places all day, everyday, 365. I’ve been in RVA since 1980. These routes existed back there then. Why would you put a platform in the middle of the street? Why would you have a bus drive on opposite sides of… Read more »

Up 25th
Up 25th
1 year ago

They could have avoided this by running the pulse up 25th then make the circle at nine mile and run the route down Jefferson. Instead they ran it to rockets. There could have been a compromise reached

Drew
Drew
1 year ago

Chris not everybody can afford a car

Chris
Chris
1 year ago

Drew, google “personal responsibility” internet tough guy then get back to me.

Steve
Steve
1 year ago

This isn’t a matter of personal responsibility or a willingness to work hard. If you are working at minimum wage, and there is no one but you as a support network, cars are a substantial investment yearly, and they take a backseat to what seems trivial from a privileged point of view–costs for food, a roof over one’s head (and those for whom one is responsible), and communication. So, you count on public transport and, usually, a bike and walking to fill in the gaps. Minimum wage brings in $16000. The average cheap rent in Richmond of $800/month takes over… Read more »

tiny
tiny
1 year ago

I can attest that the re-design has greatly impacted the bus routes for those in Church Hill and in the East End. I rode the bus for awhile to and from work, and the buses were never packed, but always reasonable full. Most commuters were riding to work or people going to doctor’s appointments. I rode with the same people everyday and I can tell you we depended on the bus. These people included young moms and elderly going to dr’s appts or going to the grocery store. The frequency of the busses has changed. A difference between arrivals every… Read more »

Mini
Mini
1 year ago

Chris, your opinion about my intelligence does not matter to me one iota in the context of this conversation. You resort to name calling because you have no valid arguments. Shows your capacity for critical thought. For all actually reasonable folk out there: there is no shame in not being able to afford a car. Also, there is no law that only low income people get to use public transportation. If you work downtown, I invite you to use the Pulse. I work downtown and have a car, but not having to deal with parking and rush hour traffic is… Read more »

Chris
Chris
1 year ago

Mini, here’s a little reality for you snowflake. Your liberal talking points doesn’t dovetail with having a valid argument. This country has spent over 22 trillion on the so-called “War on Poverty”, yet leftist like you are NEVER satisfied. We are not responsible for your transportation, your healthcare nor housing. This country spends far more than other developed countries, and in a wide variety of ways.

Mary Anne
Mary Anne
1 year ago

Chris, I’d watch what you say and how you judge. Karma can be a bitch & while I Hope you never find yourself in a position where you struggle with transportation it would certainly teach you a lesson and change your position completely. Good luck to you. I hope you’ll stop judging people so harshly and gain some empathy. You’d be a lot happier in this world if you did. Hopefully, you’ll never be judged as harshly as you judge others.

Chris
Chris
1 year ago

Mary Anne, if you can’t take it, may I suggest getting some thicker skin. So tired of you leftists thinking you are victims and entitled to someone else’s hard earned money.

L
L
1 year ago

@ Chris/#17 – Nothing that Mini, the poster you are attacking (and in the process, derailing any meaningful discussion of the original article), has said is particularly untrue, regardless of whether you want to call her opinions “liberal talking points.” If I were to call your statements/opinions “libertarian talking points” it would have no bearing on their validity either. The other comments to the effect that the bus routes were specifically redesigned to offer low income residents easier access to jobs juxtaposed with the other comments about how inconvenient the redesigned routes are is legitimately interesting. But instead of discussing… Read more »

Chris
Chris
1 year ago

Mary Anne, unlike yourself, I have always prepared for future difficulties.

Chris
Chris
1 year ago

Don’t recall the “poor” in the less populated areas of this state whining about not having public transportation, do you Mini?

Mary Anne Conmy
Mary Anne Conmy
1 year ago

Chris, I am not a victim in any way. I have always prepared for my future. I’m just not foolish enough to believe that planning for the future guarantees any security in life. I hope you don’t ever have to learn that for yourself, even if you come across like a dick. I just feel sorry for you and wonder what made you so judgemental and angry. If you’d stop passing judgement on people (whose situations you don’t know and couldn’t fully understand) and try a little empathy you might be a lot happier than you appear to be.

East End O
East End O
1 year ago

The backlash when a Black man merely opens his mouth to express dissatisfaction is interesting. One would think that Blacks arent allowed to utilize the federal tax programs, such as the FTA, that we pay for if we judged by the comments on this page. It’s as if people can use such services to investigate Black people barbecuing, selling water, and entering their own residences, but arent allowed to utilize them to investigate federally approved programs. That’s interesting. Btw Leaders Of the New South is an officially recognized legal business entity and not synonymous with Omari. Opinions are great. Everyone… Read more »

Grace Street
Grace Street
1 year ago

It just seems like common sense that the service should be directed toward those neighborhoods with the highest level of need, i.e., the number of people without personal transportation. If that’s not what’s happening, then I think this group is on to something.

Ryan
Ryan
1 year ago

I think It’s very unfortunate to have people like Chris bringing unproductive vitriol into an otherwise tense, but productive, debate. Other posters are heated and clearly frustrated by their “opposition”, but most have made salient points calling an investigation unnecessary or saying it’s manufactured by professional activists; fair points worth debating. Chris, on the other hand is launching coarse, unintellectual attacks to make others feel small and pretending that his soapbox moralizing about personal responsibility equates to policy knowledge that other posters on his side are ACTUALLY bringing to the table. Chris, if you were so prepared and on-top of… Read more »

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