JAUNT officials presented a set of “working draft schedules” for their forthcoming Crozet Connect bus service at the May 8 meeting of the Crozet Community Advisory Committee (CCAC). The team showed slides illustrating potential morning and evening bus stop locations and times for separate east and west lines on weekday mornings and afternoons. The service is slated to begin on August 5.
Though the details are still in flux, the suggested lines provided a framework for Crozetians hoping to take advantage of the new service to assess its efficacy for their Charlottesville commutes. “We’ll be testing with real vehicles in June,” said Stephen Johnson, planning manager at JAUNT. “There will be opportunities for residents to ride the bus during testing and to give feedback.”
In the draft schedule presented at the May meeting, the Crozet Connect West route begins in Bargamin Park and ends in Old Trail, with stops in Charlottesville from Fontaine Research Park to UVA Hospital and Downtown. Projected start times are 6:10, 7:00 and 7:50 a.m. for the approximately 45-minute trip. The East route runs from Downtown Crozet to Highlands/Mechums River Drive, with stops in Charlottesville from Alderman Road to Downtown. Return trips for both routes are projected to leave Charlottesville at 4:30, 5:20 and 6:10 p.m.
JAUNT officials stress that these times and stops will likely change, and explained the four geographic factors that guide their route alignment decisions. (1) Higher housing density allows more trips to be served, (2) good sidewalk infrastructure provides people with access to stops, (3) lots of road connectivity means buses can avoid doubling back, and (4) less congested corridors allow quicker bus passage.
West Crozet (Old Trail, Grayrock, Waylands Grant, Orchard Acres, etc.), for example, is rated “good” on all four of these dimensions, while North Crozet (Wayland Park, Laurel Hills, etc.) is rated “poor” on three of the four, due to low housing density, few sidewalks, and one highly congested outlet.
“Our goal is to place the bus stops so that they’re within a ten-minute walk from most neighborhoods,” said Johnson, assuring residents that the routes and stops will be tweaked as JAUNT observes ridership and adapts to trouble spots. A JAUNT survey conducted in conjunction with U.Va. suggested that as many as 400 people have indicated interest in using the Crozet Connect service. “We don’t know how many in reality will ride until we get started,” Johnson said.
JAUNT anticipates releasing the final bus schedule at the CCAC meeting on June 12. Until then, comments or questions may be directed to www.ridejaunt.org (click on Contact Us at the top and fill out the form), or by using the hashtag #CrozetConnect on Facebook or Twitter.