To Short Pump and back?

The owner of the popular To the Bottom and Back, Inc. (2BNB) bus service in Richmond is considering expanding his service into Short Pump.

Jim Porter told the Citizen that he's had preliminary discussions with a local business that may consider partial sponsorship of such service, which could operate only in that region or possibly shuttle riders to and from downtown Richmond.

Porter, 43, began the service in late summer 2009 as a way to serve mostly younger riders who wanted to travel to and from restaurants and bars in the Fan and Shockoe Bottom. A primary goal was to prevent drunk-driving among bar-goers.

He now runs routes there three evenings a week, Thursdays through Saturdays, and recently began a new Saturday daytime tourism route to serve the museum district. 2BNB buses shuttle as many as 5,000 people each week to and from destinations, Porter said.

Porter is interested in receiving feedback from residents of the Far West End and area businesses that might be interested in supporting a new venture there.

He envisions a circular route that might make stops at several Short Pump apartment complexes, take riders to the Short Pump Town Center, the Regal Short Pump 14 movie theaters and other local restaurants and shopping destinations, then return them home afterwards.

If residents expressed an interest in taking shuttles downtown and back, Porter says he'd be open to that possibility, too.

"If there's something they wanted [in Short Pump]," he said, "we could do it."

The operation's routes in Richmond, Porter says, have resulted in more cooperation between local businesses and financial benefits to many of them. Restaurants along his Cary Street and Main Street routes, he said, have seen a 200 percent jump in their receipts since the routes began.

The 2BNB bus service is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. And because it's free to riders, it isn't subject to any regulation by government entities beyond that required of other drivers. That has allowed him the freedom to operate through donations and the support of local businesses and the flexibility to serve a variety of customers and create new routes quickly.

In addition to his standard routes, Porter and his team have shuttled high school students from Richmond and Chesterfield to volunteer engagements; taken VCU students and their parents on tours of the city; taken UR and VCU students to and from fraternity and sorority socials; and even taken regular passengers to family functions. He carries $5 million insurance policies on his buses.

Porter's operation is not without its critics – primarily taxi drivers and others who charge a fee for their services. Those groups initially complained that Porter was stealing business from them, but he says that many now see value to the service he provides.

2BNB operates four school buses that Porter purchased from local school divisions for $2,500 to $3,000 each. Riders can check bus schedules at http://www.2bnb.org and also view real-time status locations of each bus, thanks to a tracking system that each one uses.

If his Short Pump plans take shape, he envisions purchasing airport-style shuttle buses that seat about 20 people each.

Porter's drivers are Chesterfield County school bus drivers, who have already passed necessary drug tests and obtained necessary licenses. Each bus also has a host, who helps riders find their destinations and helps manage riders so that the drivers aren't overwhelmed on busy trips.

Anyone with thoughts about the 2BNB buses serving Short Pump should contact Porter through the organization's website, http://www.2bnb.org.
Contact Tom Lappas at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
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‘Hello Kitty Truck’ rolls into Short Pump Saturday


MAR. 23, 12 P.M. – Hello Kitty fans, rejoice. On Saturday, the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck, described as “a mobile vehicle of cuteness,” will make its first visit to the region.

The truck will be at Short Pump Town Center, 11800 W. Broad St., from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. The vehicle will be near the mall’s main entrance by Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn.

The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck has been traveling nationwide since its debut at the 2014 Hello Kitty Con, a convention for fans of the iconic character produced by the Japanese company Sanrio. > Read more.

Governor vetoes Republicans’ ‘educational choice’ legislation


Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Thursday vetoed several bills that Republicans say would have increased school choice but McAuliffe said would have undermined public schools.

Two bills, House Bill 1400 and Senate Bill 1240, would have established the Board of Virginia Virtual School as an agency in the executive branch of state government to oversee online education in kindergarten through high school. Currently, online courses fall under the Virginia Board of Education. > Read more.

School supply drive, emergency fund to help Baker E.S. students and faculty


Individuals and organizations wanting to help George F. Baker Elementary School students and staff recover from a March 19 fire at the school now have two ways to help: make a monetary donation or donate items of school supplies.

The weekend fire caused significant smoke-and-water damage to classroom supplies and student materials at the school at 6651 Willson Road in Eastern Henrico.

For tax-deductible monetary donations, the Henrico Education Foundation has created the Baker Elementary School Emergency School Supply Fund. > Read more.

Nominations open for 2017 IMPACT Award


ChamberRVA is seeking nominees for the annual IMPACT Award, which honors the ways in which businesses are making an impact in the RVA Region economy and community and on their employees.

Nominees must be a for-profit, privately-held business located within ChamberRVA's regional footprint: the counties of Charles City, Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent and Powhatan; the City of Richmond; and the Town of Ashland. > Read more.

Business in brief


Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer announces the sale of the former Friendly’s restaurant property located at 5220 Brook Road in Henrico County. Brook Road V, LLC purchased the 3,521-square-foot former restaurant property situated on 0.92 acres from O Ice, LLC for $775,000 as an investment. Bruce Bigger of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the seller. > Read more.
Community

Villa’s Flagler Housing wins national NAEH award


St. Joseph's Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services was one of three entities to earn the National Alliance to End Homelessness' Champion of Change Award. The awards were presented Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

NAEH annually recognizes proven programs and significant achievements in ending child and family homelessness.

Flagler completed its transition from an on-campus shelter to the community-based model of rapid rehousing in 2013, and it was one of the nation's first rapid re-housing service providers to be certified by NAEH. > Read more.

RIR’s Christmas tree lighting rescheduled for Dec. 12


Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.

Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.
Entertainment

CAT Theatre to present ‘When There’s A Will’


CAT Theatre and When There’s A Will director Ann Davis recently announced the cast for the dark comedy which will be performed May 26 through June 3.

The play centers around a family gathering commanded by the matriarch, Dolores, to address their unhappiness with Grandmother’s hold on the clan’s inheritance and her unreasonable demands on her family.

Pat Walker will play the part of Dolores Whitmore, with Graham and Florine Whitmore played by Brent Deekens and Brandy Samberg, respectively. > Read more.

 

March 2017
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The University of Richmond’s Modlin Center for the Arts will present Manual Cinema’s “Mementos Mori” at 7:30 p.m. in Alice Jepson Theatre. Manual Cinema’s most ambitious show to date, a cast of six puppeteers use hundreds of paper puppets, seven overhead projectors, two cameras, and three screens to create a live “movie” in front of the audience. Accompanied by four musicians and live sound effects, the result is a rich mosaic of cinematic storytelling. Tickets are $17 to $34. For details, call 289-8980 or visit http://www.modlin.richmond.edu. Full text

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