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Roanoke's Valley Metro to expand with microtransit service

Roanoke Valley Metro's Third Street Station
Craig Wright
Downtown Roanoke's Third Street Station. Valley Metro will utilize smaller buses and vans with their new microtransit service called "Metro Flex".

While local governments are sometimes criticized for being non-responsive to citizens. Every once in a while, they can surprise - and – even delight those who come before them to ask for action.

“All Things Considered” host Craig Wright has the story of how the announcement of Roanoke Valley Metro's expanded service made one woman very happy.

On December 4th, Linda Kraige came before Roanoke’s City Council to with a dilemma:

“I was hoping someone here would be interested in considering letting the buses run on Sunday. I don’t have a way to get to church.  If the bus ran, I could ride the bus,” lamented Kraige.

But, before she could return to her seat, Vice-Mayor Joe Cobb imparted news that was music to Kraige’s ears.

“After the first of the year, through Valley Metro and a pilot program, we’re going to be offering Sunday service called Metro Flex,” said Cobb.

Metro Flex will effectively extend access to public transportation to 12:15am Monday through Saturday – and 9am to 5:30pm on Sundays.

Valley Metro General Manager Kevin Price explains, “Basically, it’s a micro-transit service.”

Riders will be able to call a number, and using smaller buses and vans, go curb-to-curb, for just a dollar-seventy-five within the Metro service area.

Price elaborates that Metro is committed to the service for two years noting, “Because it takes people time to get acclimated to change. And so, we need to give folks that time to see what this is all about.

And for Linda Kraige, she couldn’t be happier with city council exclaiming, “I can’t believe it! It didn’t know you all had it in you!”

Vice-Mayor Cobb assured her, “We do! We do!”

Craig Wright hosts All Things Considered on Radio IQ.