VCU Health to sponsor new GRTC rapid transit bus line

Photo by Erin Edgrton
Photo by Erin Edgerton

The two largest health systems in central Virginia are partnering to sponsor Richmond’s forthcoming rapid transit bus line.

The Bon Secours and VCU Health systems secured joint sponsorship rights of GRTC Pulse, the high-capacity rapid transit line which will debut this summer, in a deal which will earn the city-owned transit company $6.4 million over the next 15 years.

“As the region’s largest safety-net provider, we know that reliable transportation plays a key role in creating healthy communities,” said Deborah Davis, CEO of VCU Hospitals and Clinics, in a news release. “We will also use buses and bus stops for community health education, encouraging riders to learn about health screenings and reducing risk factors for conditions such as heart disease, stroke, obesity and diabetes.”

A line on the Pulse system will run through VCU’s downtown MCV campus and stop at the corner of Broad and 12th Street by the Capitol. Another line will stop at Willow Lawn, about a mile from St. Mary’s Hospital, which is owned by Bon Secours.

“Quality transportation provides access to jobs, health care, affordable housing and educational institutions,” said Bon Secours CEO Toni R. Ardabell in the release. “Our colleagues at VCU Health are the perfect partners in this effort to support Richmond’s new rapid transit system because we are aligned in our missions of bringing health and wholeness to the communities we serve.”

City officials said the $64.9 million Pulse bus system would be finished October of last year, when construction first started in August 2016. But the project has continued into the spring as the company which was hired for the work, Lane Construction, nears its June 30 deadline, which was outlined in its contract with the city. This has come to the consternation of business owners along Broad Street downtown, who say the ongoing construction has put a dent in their bottom lines.

The partnership with Bon Secours and VCU Health will look to address the social conditions that impact health, including transportation, officials with the three parties said in a news release.

“This investment in our Pulse service is an investment in the mobility and continued development of our community,” said GRTC CEO David Greene. “It represents a great partnership and a sustainable revenue source that will assist in operating the line and maintaining our level of service to the Richmond area.”

Fadel Allassan, Managing Editor

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