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Danville City Council voted tonight to accept state grant funds for regional bus service to Halifax and Pittsylvania counties. The service would be provided by Danville Transit.
The grant from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation would finance operating expenses for the bus service from Danville to South Boston and Danville to Hurt.
Federal and state grants were awarded last year to purchase three buses. In addition, a Tobacco Commission grant was awarded to the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center to finance the local cost requirements for the three vehicles and for the anticipated local operating cost for a three-year period.
The regional bus operation would involve an additional 24 hours of daily weekday service. Extra drivers and administrative staff must be hired. The new service could begin once the transit system is fully staffed.
In Halifax County, a bus will make stops at Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital, the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, and at major employers located on U.S. 58. From there, the bus will travel to Danville.
In Pittsylvania County, a second bus will provide service from Danville to Hurt with stops along 29 including Chatham, Gretna, and Hurt.
In 2016, the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center partnered with the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation to conduct a transit feasibility study for an 11-county area in Virginia. Completed in 2017, the study and the consultant firm recommended that regional transportation service should initially be provided for two corridors that maintain the greatest demand including the U.S. Route 29 corridor and the U.S. Route 58 corridor.
Additional study findings suggested that the Danville Transit System would be the optimal provider to offer service along these corridors to Hurt and South Boston.
The new service would improve employment, educational, shopping and medical opportunities for the region's residents by reducing transportation barriers for many citizens. Service schedules would align with shift time needs for major employers.
Several other matters were on the agenda tonight. City Council voted to:
During the work session, the City Council discussed donating parking fines collected in July to the Danville Public Schools Education Foundation. The foundation would use the money to purchase school supplies for Danville Public Schools students.
The matter will be placed on the agenda for the next business session of City Council, which will be held on Thursday, Aug. 8.