GRTC is changing – hopefully in ways that will improve public transit in the Richmond region.

The old news is that GRTC is abandoning the 100+ yr. old facility on Robinson and Cary and building a new hub in Southside. The exciting news is that the expected outcome of this move is, not just a less problematic building, but better transit. From, emphasis added:

“What you see before you is the culmination of over a decade of planning and engineering to transition GRTC from our old facility at the corner of Robinson and Cary streets to a brand new state-of-the-art facility on Belt Boulevard in the Southside that is twice the size of our current facility and really enables us to grow as the Richmond region grows,” said John Lewis Jr., CEO for GRTC Transit System. “It enables us to better meet the transportation needs of a quickly growing Richmond region.”

By decreasing energy and building repair costs- they should free up money for transit.

By increasing square footage at their facility- their fleet should grow.

Which is great news for transit riders in Richmond! Unfortunately, the facility won’t be open until ’09 or ’10. And during that time, it sounds like most excess money will be put towards their new headquarters, expected to cost $40 million. So transit in Richmond will likely see only limited improvements for the next 2-3 years.

In other good news, the GRTC headquarters will be a green-building, both energy efficient and using green materials, and they’re looking at green technology for buses as well.

As I’ve said before, I’m a fan of their new CEO, John Lewis, Jr. This news only confirms that he’s taking GRTC in a good direction- even if a little too slowly for my impatient tastes.