Christiansburg bus service to remain open

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Funding for the bus service in and around the town of Christiansburg continues to be steady going into the new fiscal year. There has been some concern the funds were quickly drying up after a scare 18 months ago.


According to officials from the Blacksburg Transit, which operates the Christiansburg service, a new funding source was found with the help of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation.

Tom Fox, the general manager of Blacksburg Transit, said his staff was able to resolve the matter. “The new funding arrangement is expected to be stable, at least in the short term,” he said.

Christiansburg officials thought they had lost all the federal funding, leaving the bus service in jeopardy of completely shutting down. Currently, the town’s share of the cost is just over $170,000.

Again, Fox is optimistic that the overall funding package will still be available.

The Christiansburg service, which began in 2009, includes the Explorer Route, which serves Christiansburg’s Downtown Central Business District; the NRV Mall area; Hubble and Electric Road area; the Falling Branch Park and Ride and surrounding neighborhoods; The Go Anywhere, which requires advance reservations and provides service from any place in Christiansburg to any destination within the town and the Two Town Trolley, which provides a connection between Blacksburg and Christiansburg.

The Two Town Trolley route is considered an express service between the two towns, with limited stops that are strategically located to provide easy connections on each end of the route. That part of the service will continue to be funded through Blacksburg Transit.

Recently BT did announce a change to service in Christiansburg. Melissa Powell, the town’s public information officer, said in an email that the Go-Anywhere Route was changed slightly.

“New reservations hours are Monday-Friday 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. with no reservations after 12 p.m.,” she said.

“New reservations hours are Monday-Friday 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. with no reservations after 12 p.m.,” she said.

Thus, the hours for the Go-Anywhere Route are now only available during the morning and took effect Feb. 1.

Fox pointed out that 80 percent of the reservations in the past for the Go-Anywhere Route came in the morning only, and the change allows BT to avoid having to fill a vacant position, which is a cost savings for Christiansburg and more efficient use of the BT staff. “The change has had a minimal impact on customers,” he said.

Ridership for the most recent fiscal year was 28,600 for the core services, which includes the Explorer, Go-Anywhere and Commuter routes. Those numbers, according to Fox, have remained about the same over the past several years.

The level of service (number of service hours provided) has also remained about the same.

Fox said his staff is working closely with Christiansburg leadership to evaluate all current services.

“This effort will include extensive public outreach and marketing as well analysis of when and where people need to travel. The goal is to prepare recommendations for service changes that could be implemented in 2018,” he said.

In Christiansburg, BT does have bus passes available to purchase at town hall, the aquatic center and recreation center.

For more information, got to www.christiansburg.org and click on the “Residents” tab and then the “Getting Around Christiansburg” link.

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