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The City of Radford is one step closer to the implementation of a new public transit system.
A review committee of Radford University and Radford city representatives is considering proposals to run the system, which could begin city service operations as soon as July.
The request for proposals was made public in February, with the city accepting bids to operate a new transit system from Feb. 25 through March 28. Under Virginia procurement regulations, the process is kept confidential until an agreement has been negotiated with a potential operator. Radford’s City Engineer, James Hurt, was therefore unable to disclose how many companies bid for the opportunity, but he said a committee of city and university administrators is carrying out the selection process.
Once the committee has decided upon the operator, a recommendation will be made to City Council for approval, after which the decision will be made public. Hurt said the committee is aiming at making the recommendation to the council at their regular meeting on April 25.
Transit vans have been ordered with federal funds awarded to the City of Radford and delivery is now expected on or before July 1. The city will buy a total of 10 vehicles, including three large buses and seven smaller 19-passenger transit vans. Once the vehicles arrive, work can begin on implementing service and adjusting routes around the city.
“We would get the city transit service running in July and would hope to have the university services running well in advance of the week before [Radford University] starts back,” Hurt said.
Proposed city routes are expected to operate between Radford, Fairlawn and West Side on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and weekends from noon to 10 p.m., every hour. A Radford-Carillion service is also proposed to operate from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., every two hours on weekdays.
Proposed RU routes are between East Radford and Fairlawn on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and weekends from noon to 10 p.m., every hour. Other possible routes include East and West Campus, Dedmon Center and Greenhill from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays, every 20 minutes.
A Radford-Christiansburg-Blacksburg route would operate Thursday, Friday and Saturday from noon to 3 a.m. every hour. Campus to Fairlawn weekend service would operate from noon to 10 p.m., running every 30 minutes.
It is important to note that the routes mentioned at this point are proposed routes, as the routes will be adjusted according to demand after a company begins operating the service.
“We need to get the routes established, because we need to get the students where they want to go,” Hurt said.
RU students and faculty will be recognized as “free riders” when providing a university ID. Any other riders will be charged a $1 boarding fee.
Costs for the operation of Radford’s transit system will be shared between the city and the university. The university agreed to pay a share in the cost based on student usage of the service.
The city has planned and developed this venture since Fall 2008. The process included surveys of city residents and students to better understand the transit needs of the local community.