Henrico County VA
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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).
Community

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

Henricus Historical Park to host Publick Day Sept. 20

Henricus Historical Park will commemorate its anniversary during Publick Day, a signature annual event that celebrates the establishment of the second successful English settlement in the New World. In September 1611, Sir Thomas Dale, along with soldiers, tradesmen and farmers, ventured from Jamestown to create the Citie of Henricus. Leaders of Henricus developed the first English hospital, chartered the first college in North America, established tobacco as the first cash crop in Virginia, and created a place where Pocahontas lived and met John Rolfe.

Publick Day will take place Saturday, Sept. 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and parking is $5 per vehicle. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Extras sought for AMC’s ‘TURN’

Paid extras are being sought to appear in the AMC television series TURN: Washington's Spies, which will begin filming its second season in the Richmond area at the end of September and continue through February.

No experience is required, but producers say that extras must have flexible availability, reliable transportation and a positive attitude.

Arvold Casting is holding an open call on Sunday, Sept. 21 and is seeking men, women and children who are Caucasian, African American and Native American, with thin to average builds and who can realistically portray people living in Revolutionary War times. Long hair is a plus but not a must. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


TGIF! Celebrate the weekend at Oak Hall Baptist Church’s Community Block Party on Saturday. Learn more about ballroom dancing, art and Colonial times. Or take the kids to Generation Z Games for water play or Southern Season to cook up a Disney-theme meal. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


Check out these three B’s in Henrico this weekend: books, bluegrass and “Born Yesterday.” Other activities to participate in – and feel good about – are the 15th annual James River Regional Cleanup and the 5th annual Richmond Out of the Darkness Community Walk. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

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