New routes and improvements could be coming soon to Valley Metro

ROANOKE,Va. – Changes and maybe even an expansion  for public transportation could be coming throughout the Roanoke Valley. 

Milleage Marshal Adams Jr. walks a mile and a half every day near Tanglewood Mall to catch the Valley Metro bus.

“I like Valley Metro. I just don't like that they don't have a bus where I live and they stop running after 8:30 p.m.,” said Adams.

“There are a lot of other older people out there where I live (who ride) the bus, and sometimes they just won’t even go, because they have to walk that mile and a half on a two-way street with no sidewalks,” Adams said.

During his ride, Adams creates cartoon artwork. He is sometimes unable to sell his work due to the lack of access to buses. 

Adams says he loves doing his artwork on the bus, but he has a message for the transit system.

"Valley Metro, get with the times and step it up a little bit," Adams said.

The transit company is taking the next steps in improving current routes and add new buses to meet riders' needs.

It has released a comprehensive plan to update its services and add new buses worth close to $4 million without increasing fares. 

"We will be buying new buses every year for the next four years, and in January, we will be receiving 10 new buses in an addition to four new trolleys," said Kevin Price, general manager for Valley Metro.

Along with new vehicles, certain routes extensions are proposed, such as routes closer to Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport and further through Roanoke County. 

"Another package is the Brandon Road Connector, which is a part of another package which will primarily connect the hospitals, Lewis Gale to Roanoke Memorial, with a few stops in between," Price said.

A longer proposed plan for 2020 could include extended evening and Sunday services, but that could change.

Valley Metro will present this recommended report to its board sometime in November for final adoption.