An audience of about 60 first heard from the personal experiences of residents who use public transportation -- with varying degrees of satisfaction. Neighborhood Livability Chair Ken Lantz, Principal Planner with the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission, provided an overview of general transportation needs. He was joined by Charles Rasnick of Hanover Senior Rides with a breakdown of how his service operates.
GRTC's Carrie Rose Pace, Director of Communications, and Adrienne Chargois, Planning Manager, shared with the group some exciting upcoming developments with the public transportation system. These changes have already begun to reshape the landscape in Richmond. They provided maps of route plans and changes.
Up next was Marshall Contino, Director of the Center for Vehicle Safety, with nonprofit health systems research and consulting organization Altarum. His illuminating presentation about autonomous vehicles prompted feedback and many questions from the crowd. His 110, 94 and 96 statistics (110 people in the U.S. die each day in an automobile accident, 94 percent of accidents are caused by a human driver, and our cars sit unused 96 percent of the time) were impactful.
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The final presenters of the evening were an Innovation Panel from UZURV, a Richmond-based TNC app startup; Perrone Robotics, a Charlottesville-based company that creates software for autonomous vehicles; and RoundTrip, a local startup favorite that provides innovative medical transportation software. The panel focused in large part on the important role human drivers will continue to play in the older consumer arena.
The event included a lively audience brainstorm session. Below are the results from this session, which will help guide the path of Age Wave projects in the future:
Question 1: How do we increase access to GRTC?
- Increase access for functionally disabled so all buses have door open at curb level and no steps
- Having bus service from Chesterfield to short pump
- Chesterfield, Hanover, Powhattan, specific entry points to access to exit points of interest
- Free rides to try it out
- Media campaign
- Provide transportation of choice
- Use swipe or electronic pass key
- Distinguish between low cost use and desired service
- Emphasize passenger safety
- Distinguish between low cost and low income
- Lines need to be extended
- Improve user friendliness of GRTC app
- Positive marketing campaign
- Trash cans, benches, shelters
- Increase funding
- Online how-to tutorial
- Risk management - get liability coverage for volunteer drivers
- Gas discounts/vouchers
- Public info campaign on Hanover Senior Rides to promote replication - also Bedford Rides
- Tie into fall prevention movement?
- Link volunteer programs to senior centers
- Need to make liability options known upfront.
- Getting matched-up with some of the same folks builds a rapport and sense of ownership/pride in helping that client
- Partnership with auto insurance companies so that volunteer drivers get a discount on their auto insurance
- Tax breaks
- Drivers stipend
- Large companies offer retiring employees an incentive or bonus when they sign-on to become a driver