As students and employees at an urban campus, we are interconnected with the city, and access to public transportation helps link people, communities and opportunities. VCU’s partnership with GRTC began in 2018 with a year-long pilot. During that year, VCU surveyed students and employees, monitored ridership, and conducted extensive outreach for feedback about a long-term partnership with GRTC. We saw dramatic shifts in ridership from the Campus Connector, VCU’s former intracampus shuttle, to GRTC and consistently received support for the partnership and the city-wide access it provides. In fact, more than 95% of students and employees surveyed said that VCU should continue a partnership with GRTC. In 2019, VCU and GRTC entered into a multiyear agreement to provide unlimited transportation access for VCU students and employees and the two entities continue to work together to improve service and adapt to changes.
The GRTC network provides VCU students and employees greater access to VCU, VCU Health and the entire Richmond region. In addition to connecting the Monroe Park and MCV Campuses, students and employees can access doctors, shopping malls, parks, arts, restaurants, community resources and more. Plus, commuters can use GRTC to get to and from campus every day and save money on parking, fuel and tolls.
Using the program
Note: While GRTC continues to operate under a zero-fare policy during the COVID-19 pandemic, a VCU ID card nor GO Pass will be required to ride.
Riders will continue to present their GO Pass, proof of payment, and their VCU, VCU Health System or Virginia Premier identification card when riding the Pulse. A mobile pass is expected to be available for students and employees for the Spring 2020 semester, which will ultimately replace the physical GO Passes.
In the meantime, new VCU employees should visit a Parking and Transportation customer service office to retrieve a GO Pass. VCU Health System employees will receive a GO Pass in your new employee orientation. In the event you do not receive a GO Pass at orientation, you may visit one of our customer service offices to retrieve one.
View instructions for using your VCU/GRTC GO Pass by downloading How to use your GRTC/VCU GO Pass [PDF].
Please note, a VCU, VCU Health System or Virginia Premier-issued ID card is required in addition to your GO Pass to ride GRTC under the program.
If you are a new student or employee who does not have a GO Pass, you can ride the bus by presenting your VCU, VCU Health System or Virginia Premier-issued ID card until the new mobile app launches in the spring semester of 2020. However, if you wish to obtain a GO Pass, you may visit one of our customer service offices to retrieve one.
Every student and employee will be issued one GO Pass. In the event your pass is lost or stolen, please contact the VCU Parking and Transportation customer service office immediately. A $10 fee will be assessed for a replacement pass. In the event your pass was stolen, a police report must be provided in order for this fee to be waived.
Any VCU, VCU Health System or Virginia Premier student or employee who has been issued a VCU, VCU Health System or Virginia Premier ID card can participate. For questions regarding your status, please contact your Human Resources department.
While VCU affiliates are not issued GO Passes, you may submit for an exception by emailing email@example.com. Please note, GO Pass exceptions are only granted for those who demonstrate a defined business need (i.e: traveling cross-campus for meetings, delivering materials, etc.). Please note, transportation to/from work would not qualify as a business need.
A valid ID card and VCU/GRTC GO Pass are required to ride GRTC as part of this program. If you have lost/misplaced your ID card, please visit VCU Card for a replacement.
No. Guests of VCU students and employees may not ride GRTC routes under this program; however, they are welcome to purchase a ride pass through GRTC. Fares and passes may be purchased at Ticket Vending Machines located at all Pulse platforms. Single ride fares and passes may be purchased on-board, but please note that fareboxes do not give change. Exact far is recommended. To purchase passes at local vendors or online, view your purchasing options at http://ridegrtc.com/need-help/how-to-ride-guide.
Riding the bus
Yes; all GRTC buses have bike racks on the front available to riders. Local buses have 2 bike slots while GRTC Pulse buses can hold up to 3 bikes at a time. Check out this video on how to bring your bike onto the bus.
GRTC is dedicated to making it easier for all customers to use their services. All GRTC fixed route buses contain features and equipment that allow riders with disabilities to board, ride, and exit vehicles easily and comfortably. Learn more about these accommodations at http://ridegrtc.com/need-help/accessibility.
In the event a GRTC bus does not have capacity for a mobility device in the ADA space up front, there are two steps available:
- The rider can ask the Operator to check with Radio Dispatch on ADA space availability on the next bus. Dispatch will communicate with the next bus Operator to prepare space.
- If space is not available on the next bus, the Radio Dispatch can send a supervisor van with ADA accessibility to assist.
The grievance procedure for ADA discrimination complaints can be found at http://ridegrtc.com/media/
You can ride any of GRTC’s regular local fixed-route or express buses with your ID card and GO Pass. Seasonal express fares (ie: Kings Dominion route) are not included as part of this partnership.
Jointly owned by the City of Richmond and Chesterfield County, GRTC is the public transportation system for the Greater Richmond area. GRTC provides transportation services to the Richmond VA area and parts of Chesterfield and Henrico counties. These include fixed routes, express route bus service, and the Pulse.
The GRTC Pulse is considered a fixed route but operates as a high quality, high capacity bus rapid transit system that serves a 7.6-mile route along Broad Street and Main Street, from Rocketts Landing in the City of Richmond to Willow Lawn in Henrico County. The Pulse has dedicated bus-only lanes and 14 station platforms along the corridor. Many local buses that service Downtown or Broad Street make connections to the Pulse. Additional information on this service can be found at http://ridegrtc.com/brt.
Richmonders clearly see the benefit of having a bus rapid transit system—so much in fact that ridership on the Pulse is greater than expected, which has led to crowded buses during peak travel times. This is something we are working with GRTC to find solutions to as quickly as possible—both long term and short term solutions.
GRTC will add buses during high peak times. They are starting the purchase process for buses that are twice the size/capacity but this is a long term solution that we wouldn’t expect to be in place for a couple of years.
In the meantime, VCU and GRTC will do better communicating real time changes, such as accidents/detours and other things out of our control, that impact the volume of riders and timing of the buses.
Routes and schedules
VCU recommends that riders download the Transit mobile app. Through this app, you’re able to get comprehensive estimated locations of GRTC buses, along with estimated times of arrival at each stop, as well as maps and route information in the palm of your hand.
You can also download GRTC’s Transit On The Go! Mobile App for estimated arrival times and route information or visit GRTC’s Schedules and Routes page to learn more about specific GRTC routes.
As another option, riders can utilize Track by Text: text GRTC @ 22827 with your bus stop # and GRTC will text you back an ETA on your bus.
Pulse buses arrive every 15 minutes (or better), from 6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., seven days a week. View the Pulse frequency schedule at http://ridegrtc.com/media/routes/Pulse_Frequency_Schedule_Sept_2018.pdf.
- Mondays – Fridays:
- 5:30AM – 6AM: every 15 minutes
- 6AM-7PM: every 10 minutes
- 7PM-11:30PM: every 15 minutes
- 11:30PM-1AM: every 30 minutes
- Saturdays & Sundays:
- 6AM –11:30PM: every 15 minutes
- 11:30PM-1AM: every 30 minutes
Route 5 arrives every 15 minutes from 6am-7pm Monday through Saturday. In the evenings, it arrives every 30 minutes from 7pm to 12am. On Sundays, Route 5 arrives every 30-minutes from 6am-11pm.
The Pulse and Route 5 provide the most direct connections between Monroe Park Campus and MCV.
The Pulse is a bus rapid transit system that runs along Broad and Main Streets. VCU Riders can board at the VCU & VUU stop is located in the median at the intersection of Broad & Shafer streets. The VCU Medical Center stops are located on the curbside at Broad & 12th streets. Pulse stations have both an eastbound and westbound platform.
Route 5, is a high-frequency local route that travels mostly along Main and Cary Streets, 9th Street, and into Whitcomb Court. Many of the stops on the 5 travels within the vicinity of many of the same stops as the former Campus Connector including One Capitol Square (now Main & 8th). Learn more about these routes at http://ridegrtc.com/planning-your-trip/find-a-route.
View a campus map of Pulse and Route 5 stops: Monroe Park and MCV Campus Bus Map [PDF]
GRTC utilizes several notification methods for service impacts. You can receive live alerts for detours, delays, and closures through social media for the system (@GRTCTransit) and for GRTC Pulse (@GRTCPulse) through Twitter, Facebook, or by calling Customer Service at 804-358-4782.
The GRTC Mobile App can provide estimated arrival times and reminders about upcoming holiday schedules, snow routes in effect, and planned detours within the app.
In addition to the app, alerts are posted on the following channels:
- For traffic advisories, visit: http://ridegrtc.com/news-initiatives/news-updates/.
- Riders can subscribe to receive alerts at http://new.grtcbustracker.com/bustime/login.jsp.
Yes, as long as you present a valid ID card and GO Pass, you’re able to ride at no cost.
GRTC is aware there is an issue with tracking the buses within their app. Specifically, the feed (General Transit Feed Specification or GTFS) that is utilized to track the buses isn’t tracking when there is an accident or a bus has to detour. GRTC is looking into a system upgrade that will fix many of these problems. This is a top priority for GRTC; they are actively working on it right now.
In the meantime riders can download the Transit mobile app. Through this app, you’re able to get comprehensive estimated locations of GRTC buses, along with estimated times of arrival at each stop, as well as maps and route information in the palm of your hand.
You can also utilize Track by Text: text GRTC @ 22827 with your bus stop number, and GRTC will text you back an ETA on your bus.
GRTC observes “Rules of Riding” policies while on-board, at any bus shelter or stop, or on any GRTC property, available at http://ridegrtc.com/need-help/rules-of-riding/. Security cameras are located at each of the 26 Pulse station platforms to provide safe and responsive customer service for any need that may arise.
VCU-GRTC Safety Committee
VCU and GRTC have formed a joint safety committee with members from VCU Police, VCU Parking and Transportation and GRTC. Meetings are held quarterly with goals of promoting and maintaining the interest of the VCU community in regards to safety issues/concerns related to riding GRTC. If you would like to bring forth a safety concern for the committee to discuss, submit it using our Feedback form.
RamSafe and VCU Health System's security escort service remain available through VCU Parking and Transportation and VCU Police. Should a VCU student or employee ever feel unsafe, you are strongly encouraged to use these services.
RamSafe is an evening shuttle service for the Monroe Park Campus that runs from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. daily.
Security escort services are available on the MCV Campus, also from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. daily, by calling 804-828-WALK. Students and employees on the MCV Campus traveling from VCU-affiliated buildings can request an escort ride to the GRTC bus stop at 12th and Broad streets.
GRTC Safety Features
All GRTC buses have security cameras (audio and video) inside and outside the bus, with full visibility range. The footage from these cameras can assist with an investigation or safety concern. Additionally, all buses are equipped with several emergency buttons for the Operator to activate if needed, and are priority-based. In the event a passenger requires emergency assistance on-board, passengers should notify the Operator immediately. If the passenger cannot get to the Operator, the passenger should call 911 and tell the emergency responder the bus identification number (for example, Pulse bus 2010).
All Pulse platforms have an Emergency Call Box/Button that connects directly to 911 as well as live security cameras (video) showing all angles of the platform. Supervisors monitor these in real-time, and emergency responders can access them if needed.
GRTC also has Supervisors in the field to respond in a timely manner if there is a situation requiring extra help.
Ridership data and your feedback will help provide us with the necessary information to accurately understand transit demand, evaluate the program’s success and inform future transportation program decisions.
Students and employees are encouraged to share your feedback.
Yes. Parking permits for students are calculated/applied beginning the first of each month (i.e. If a permit is returned during the middle of the month, the refund will be applied/calculated beginning the first of the following month.) Student subscribers will be refunded for any full month of non-usage after the date of return (i.e:a return on July 1 would require payment through July; however August and September would be refunded).
Employee cancellations are processed in accordance with the VCU and VCU Health System payroll schedule (i.e:a return on July 1 would require payment through July; however August and September would be refunded).
For questions regarding permit refunds, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For questions or concerns related to the GRTC/VCU program, please contact VCU Parking and Transportation directly. You may submit your feedback online at parking.vcu.edu/transportation/GRTC/feedback, by emailing email@example.com or via phone at (804) 828-PARK (7275).
VCU is paying $1.42 million for services in the first year, $1.57 million for the second year, and $1.65 million the third year to cover the cost of ridership for students and employees on local routes and the Pulse and to maintain 10-minute headways for the Pulse. Express fares will continue to be billed separately based on VCU ridership data provided by GRTC.
The decision to eliminate the Campus Connector was made after careful consideration following a year-long pilot. During the pilot year, we saw dramatic shifts in ridership from the Campus Connector to GRTC. Through surveys to both students and employees, transportation forums, student groups, and other outreach, we consistently received support for the partnership and the city-wide access it provides.
Unfortunately, it is cost-prohibitive to operate both the Campus Connector as well as cover the cost of GRTC ridership. VCU eliminated Campus Connector transportation service, effective July 1, 2019. To travel between the campuses, students and employees can use GTRC’s Pulse, which serves a 7.6-mile route along Broad Street, as well as Route 5, among other routes.
Shuttles to the remote parking facilities (A, I, M, R lots) will not be affected and will continue to service these locations as normal.