VINTON, Va. - Valley Metro bus riders in the town of Vinton may notice a change. Routes 35 and 36 have been altered. Some underused stops have been removed, while others in high traffic areas have been added.
"It's more of a direct route to where they want to go." said Kevin Price, Valley Metro general manager.
The changes are the result of a two-year process involving community members, town staff, Valley Metro staff and Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission personnel. The new route remains within Vinton, meaning residents and visitors can travel to local businesses and restaurants without leaving the town limits.
"It can be more of a local transit system for the town of Vinton. It can be something the town can use as an economic developer," said Price.
Buses will now travel on West Virginia Avenue from Roanoke to Vinton, turn onto Pollard Street and have multiple stops including one at the Vinton Library. The bus then turns onto Washington Avenue, where most existing stops have remained, including one near the new Macado's. The route then turns onto Bypass Road with a stop at the River Park Shopping Center. After that, buses hit Hardy Road, then make a left turn onto Vinyard Road to the Clearview Manor Apartments. Vinton town officials say the changes are not only a benefit to riders but to taxpayers.
"It reduces the projected expenses by almost 25 percent of what it was originally while also preserving all the major routes and preserving stops with high ridership," said Nathan McClung, principal planner for the town of Vinton.
Another change -- buses will no longer enter the parking lots of privately owned shopping centers, like Lake Drive Plaza and River Park Shopping Center, for safety reasons.
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