This week, September 16 – 20, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, as well as RIDE Solutions, together kick off Try Transit Week! If you make a pledge to use transit this week, you will be entered into a contest coordinated by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) making you eligible to win the grand prize, which, for our region, will be two free round-trip tickets on Amtrak’s Northeast Regional route, as well as free transit service for a year on Piedmont Area Regional Transit (PART), if you use that transit service.
In addition to the grand prize noted above, there are numerous other reasons to use transit. On its Try Transit Week site, DRPT notes a variety of benefits to using transit. One benefit which most of us might identify with is the agency’s assertion that transit users can save up to $10,000 annually because they are not accruing costs incidental to driving such as paying for gas, parking, maintenance, and tolls. Transit use also benefits the environment, reducing air pollutants and carbon; the agency notes that transit is responsible for saving 4.2 billion gallons of gas annually. According to DRPT, an economic development component of transit is that every dollar invested in this form of transportation results in $4 in economic development activity.
Two transit agencies that provide regular service within the West Piedmont Planning District include Danville Transit and PART, the latter noted above. Danville Transit operates six fixed routes throughout the City of Danville. The fixed route service operates Monday – Saturday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. For riders with disabilities, Danville Transit offers a Handivan service, which operates door-to-door during the same hours as the fixed-route network. In addition to these two service components, the transit agency operates Reserve-A-Ride, which is a door-to-door service operating from 4 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday – Saturday, and which requires a reservation by 11 a.m. the previous day. Learn more about Danville Transit at https://www.danville-va.gov/508/Mass-Transit.
Piedmont Area Regional Transit (PART) serves the City of Martinsville and Henry County. PART is operated by RADAR (Roanoke Area Dial-A-Ride), and jointly managed locally by the City and County. The service operates Monday – Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Buses operate on a deviated fixed-route basis, meaning that they follow a pre-determined route, but will deviate off that route, up to ¾-mile, with advanced notice of 24 hours. PART operates three routes, with the Collinsville Route primarily serving the Town of Collinsville – including the County Administrative Building and Patrick Henry Community College; the Martinsville Route serves prominent destinations within the City of Martinsville; and the Southside Route services uptown Martinsville, southern parts of the city, and adjacent portions of Henry County along the U.S. Route 220 corridor south as far as Tractor Supply Co. All three routes meet at Wal-Mart, where passengers on one route can transfer to any of the other two. Learn more about PART at http://www.martinsville-va.gov/residents/bus-system-p-a-r-t or at https://www.henrycountyva.gov/bus-routes.
When you use transit during Try Transit Week, or any time at all, make sure to log your trips on the RIDE Solutions app so that you get credit for them and earn points toward rewards! If you have not yet set up a RIDE Solutions account, it will take you seconds to do; just go to www.ridesolutions.org and follow the instructions!