CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The Department of Public Works (DPW) plans on expanding Virgin Islands transit routes and extending hours of service after receiving a $375,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration’s 2022 Areas of Persistent Poverty (AoPP) grant program.
FTA’s Areas of Persistent Poverty (AoPP) Program supports projects that address the transportation challenges faced by areas of persistent poverty.
Using the grant funds, DPW will conduct a study for potential transit improvements including where to provide more frequent and expanded service, assessing the feasibility of park-and-ride locations, expanding service hours for existing routes, a transit hub, as well as new routes for shorter ride times and more direct access to destinations.
DPW Transportation Planner Andrew Ray explained, “The territory’s current transit service includes routes that were implemented before significant developments occurred within the last two decades.” Coupled with the increased number of residents and visitors, along with the shift in the geographic distribution of destinations and population, he said it warranted a review of the current services provided.
“Additionally, the lack of weekend fixed route services creates a hardship for transit dependent populations that are left with either no options for travel on the weekend, or the need to utilize a more expensive taxi service to reach essential destinations,” Ray said.
A survey to quantify the need for weekend service, along with a feasibility study of expanded service days and hours will allow the territory to provide services that are more closely matched to the needs of residents and visitors. The Department intends to study the effectiveness of closing gaps with conventional fixed route service and with micro-transit routes that provide on demand service.
According to Ray, “New route alignments, coupled with more flexible route options can serve a greater number of people that are dependent on public transit in a way the better utilizes limited budgetary resources.”
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