The only economic way to get around Richmond without a car is to use public buses run by GRTC (Greater Richmond Transit Company). Keep in mind that, like in most American cities, the buses don't reach many suburbs. They operate from 5.00 am to 1.00 am: daily in the City of Richmond and Mon-Fri in Henrico County.
Ticket costs $1.50 (local routes) or $1.75 (commuter express routes) while bought at the bus. Less expensive GRTC ticket books ($12.50 for 10 tickets) must be purchased at select ticket sale locations before you board. Details on GRTC webpage, the link below.
Richmond International Airport (RIC) is located 8 mi (approx. 20 minutes) east of downtown. For me, from Poland, it was much cheaper to get to Dulles International Airport close to Washington DC. At the airport take a taxi (expensive), rent a car (details here) or take a public bus by GRTC.
There are two Amtrak stations in Richmond:
1. Main Street Station (RVM) downtown for train called Regional from Newport News, via Williamsburg and Richmond to Wahington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston. Map here,
2. Staples Mill Road Station (RVR; 7519 Staples Mill Road) for trains called:
- Carolinian from Charlotte to New York City (NYC);
- Palmetto from Savannach, Georgia to NYC;
- Silver Meteor and Silver Star from Miami to NYC.
During our tour of Richmond, I did notice that there were an awfully large number of buses available in the downtown area. Public transportation is clearly a priority in Richmond, although I did hear from various sources that the options were not always adequate to make this your only form of transportation.
As of June 2007, the fares are:
Cash Based Fares
Regular Cash Fare
Local Routes $1.25
Commuter Express Routes $1.75
Children Cash Fare
Under 5 years – One free per each full paid fare
5 years and older – Pay full price
Senior/Disabled Cash Fare
50¢ on local routes
Requires Medicare or GRTC ID card.
Full fare required on Route 19 Pemberton and all express routes.
Go Cards are available for $5.00, $10.00, and $25.00 in select locations. Go Cards can be used in lieu of cash for payment of fare and transfers. The cost of your trip is deducted from the card each time you use it and the remaining balance is indicated on the back of the card.
GRTC (Greater Richmond Transit) bus fares cost $1.50 each, or a Super Saver ticket book offers rides at $1.25 or less ($12.50 per book, $7.50 per book for senior citzens). Transfers cost 15¢ for cash fares and 10¢ for Super Saver ticket holders, while senior citizens transfer free on local routes. For bus schedules, call the number below or visit the included website. GRTC has the Lunchtime Express, a network of free bus rides that operates during the week from 11:30am to 2:30pm. along a route through downtown and the Shockoe area.
The GRTC buses will get you almost completely around downtown Richmond. The buses are cheap and run all the time. I have only ridden the buses three times, and each time I did not like the experience. I would recommend to anyone in Richmond to ride the bus only as a last resort, especially at night. The buses are low fare, but the people riding these can tend to be sketchy, and there have been reported muggings on the buses or at the bus stops primarily in the night. n May, 2006, I had to ride the GRTC as one of those last resorts. I had an unexpected but necessary trip to the south side of town. Immediately on boarding, I felt like I was one of a kind. There was this woman in a bathrobe and curlers! Other people I saw would look right at home in a police lineup. Maybe riding the bus in broad daylight isn’t much safer than going at night. I would recommend taxi, or calling a good friend like b1bob or myself for a ride. Trust me, we won't mind. But if you have to the buses are okay just try and stay on the bus in the daytime, and avoid it at all cost at night.