If you were excited to see a sleek new bus stop being installed at the Victoria College Science Center, complete with a bike rack and solar-powered lighting, then get ready to see even more upgrades at a total of 48 Victoria Transit stops across the city.
The Golden Crescent Regional Planning Commission solicited feedback from riders about ways to improve the system, and one of the most common complaints has been that transit stops lack adequate covering or benches. Thanks to a Federal Transit Administration grant that GCRPC received last year, Victoria Transit will be installing benches at 40 stops that currently lack them, and some higher-traffic stops will get new coverings as space permits.
Depending on the traffic volume at various sites, Victoria Transit also will add bike racks and map displays to make it easier for riders to plan their trips. In addition, some stops that are part of evening routes will receive solar-powered lighting. This is especially important not only for safety reasons but so that drivers can see people waiting at stops. Transportation Program Coordinator Shawn Fennell noted that people sometimes have been left behind at transit stops because drivers didn’t see them standing in the dark. Lighting will be installed at both covered and uncovered stops, and riders will be able to activate the lights by pushing a button.
Officials expect to have most of the stops completed by the end of summer, although some along Navarro Street will be delayed to accommodate the construction of a new median. GCRPC is working on securing grant funding to upgrade even more sites.
Along with the new stops, the FTA grant is being used to provide five new commuter buses to the Victoria Transit system. These large 30-passenger buses travel between Victoria and outlying areas, providing reliable transportation to people who live in Victoria but work outside the city.
In addition to improving the Victoria Transit system itself, GCRPC has been working to provide riders with more payment options. Soon, Victoria Transit riders will be able to pay using credit or debit cards, adding a new level of convenience and accessibility. If future funding permits, officials also would like to offer reloadable smart cards that can be used to pay for rides.
To learn more about Victoria Transit, visit gcrpc.org; call GCRPC’s Transit Operations Center at 361-578-8775; or stop by Victoria Transit’s office at 1908 N. Laurent St., Suite 115.