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Here come the buses

VCU Parking & Transportation rolls out new fleet this week

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The long wait is almost over. After eager anticipation, Virginia Commonwealth University rolls out its new bus fleet Thursday, Nov. 1.

VCU Parking & Transportation contracted with Groome Transportation for its new fleet, after having used GRTC buses since 2004. Groome Transportation launched an interim fleet July 1, giving the university community a small taste of what the new fleet will entail.

"While the interim fleet had VCU-branded buses providing uninterrupted service for all routes, the permanent fleet will have many new rider-friendly amenities," said Miriam Maddux, ombudsman and transit specialist.

Those amenities include GPS, Wi-Fi on the Campus Connector and cushioned, branded seats. LED screens at key stops will be added down the road.

Each bus has double doors for easy boarding and disembarking. Rather than flashing a VCU ID, passengers will scan their VCUCard in front of a card reader, which will collect information that can be used to make improvements on each specific route.

"Groome Transportation emphasizes providing excellent customer service so we hope our passengers will notice friendly drivers who are focused on customer service, which includes timely service," said Robin Mack, assistant manager for transportation.

Groome Transportation's focus on exemplary service includes strategies to prevent "stacking," the frustrating occurrence when two buses on the same route arrive back-to-back at the bus stop.

"I think the passengers will be excited about the reliability and timeliness of the new services as well as all of the new amenities, particularly the GPS," Mack said. "Passengers won’t have to guess when the bus will be there, they will know."

View real-time location of individual buses at vcu.transloc.com. Contact ramtransit@vcu.edu to obtain a guest pass.

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