Study shows Valley Metro could alter routes to better serve riders


ROANOKE, Va. – Changes could be on the way for Valley Metro, thanks to a new study by a transit planning firm. 

"This is still in a draft form but we are excited about what the changes will bring as far as being a more convenient, more economical and safer transit system," said Kevin Price, general manager of Valley Metro.

The study should be completed in the next month or so. It found that certain service routes could be altered to better cater to riders. Routes could expand further into the Cave Spring and Salem area. One could run from LewisGale Medical Center to Carilion Roanoke Memorial. More stops could be added to the high traffic Melrose Avenue route and more stops could also be added near Valley View. 

"Being able to access the movies, or being able to access Target by Valley View and being able to access the airport," said Price. 

The study found that it would be beneficial to have some buses staying on the outskirts of downtown so fewer riders have to go downtown just to make it to their stop. And another piece of new information -- ridership is not peaking in the morning but in the mid-afternoon between the hours of 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

"We sell bus rides and that's our product. So we want to make sure that we put the best product out there for the passengers," said Price. 

Price says some of the changes, like access to the airport and hospital routes, will not cost Valley Metro anything, so it could implement them much faster than other changes.

Later hours and weekend service were not part of this study, but Price said Valley Metro is still looking at those options.

It's been 25 years since Valley Metro's bus routes were studied this extensively.