Regional Transit Could Boost Ridership in Charlottesville

Transit ridership has been waning in Charlottesville, Virginia, but a regional system could benefit the area’s operators and better meet the mobility needs of riders.

1 minute read

January 8, 2020, 11:00 AM PST

By Camille Fink

Charlottesville, Virginia

Bram Reusen / Shutterstock

A regional transit system in Charlottesville, Virginia, could be the solution to the area's mobility challenges, including a drop in ridership on the Charlottesville Area Transit system of more than 25 percent in the last five years.

"By [CAT director Garland] Williams' own admission the current system is failing riders due to unreliability, decreasing coverage, and one-way routes that serve CAT better than they do its customers," writes Wyatt Gordon.

The Jefferson Area Regional Transit Partnership Expansion is an advisory body exploring expansion through establishment of a regional transit authority. An authority would bring together the three transit operations in the area: CAT, University of Virginia’s student shuttle, and JAUNT, a microtransit service for regional commuters.

"If the three are able to stitch together their services under one umbrella as a regional transit authority that could unlock new state and federal funding that none are eligible for on their own," notes Gordon.

The Charlottesville area is facing increased housing costs, congestion, and pollution, making improved mobility a policy priority. "With sprawl on the rise and more locals driving to work from far-flung counties, it makes sense that the region is seeing a renewed push for transit—and may be willing to pay for it," adds Gordon.

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