A Small Virginia City Is Ditching Traditional Transit

The small historic town of Winchester, Va., will soon phase out its fixed-route bus system for a dynamic on-demand system providing shorter wait and travel times, for the same cost.

A shift to a microtransit system will improve transportation times for riders, getting them to the places that matter quicker, say city leaders.

“We’re changing all of our performance metrics for public transit,” remarked Dan Hoffman, city manager for Winchester, Va., a small community in the Shenandoah Valley, as he pointed to paying less attention to some of transit’s more typical metrics like ridership or the length of time between buses.

Winchester, a small city of 30,000 tucked onto only 9.3 square miles, is phasing out its city-run fixed-route transit network for an entirely on-demand system using smaller vehicles. Via, a transit technology platform, will provide the technology used to link up vehicles with riders…

A key selling point for the transition is the ability to cut wait and travel times for riders. Today, riders wait about 70 minutes between buses. With a new on-demand dynamic system, that wait time shrinks to about 10 minutes.

A trip to Walmart from the center section of town, out to the store’s location on the outskirts, is an 84-minute trip today. The new system will get this travel down to about 16 minutes.

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