Bring your own barf bag. Wandering revelers will find a familiar sight Friday as a new bus line begins offering free rides between Carytown and Shockoe Bottom.
The service, The Hop RVA, will replicate the now dormant 2BNB buses that ran between Shockoe Bottom and Carytown. NightlifeVirginia Executive Director Chad Porter and Napoleon Taxi owner Jonathan Trainum say their goal, like 2BNB, will be providing safe rides for people in no shape to drive.
“We want people to get home safe to their families,” Trainum says.
While popular, 2BNB acquired a reputation for overcrowding and unreliable service. Trainum says The Hop studied the lessons from the company.
“There were a lot of safety measures forfeited for the sake of filling the bus, providing an atmosphere for all rather than a safe atmosphere,” Trainum says.
The Hop will launch with one 84-seat school bus, but Trainum says they plan to add up to 15 as they expand to other routes around the city. The routes could eventually expand to the larger metro area.
While 2BNB functioned as a nonprofit relying on contributions, Trainum says The Hop will rely entirely on sponsorship and advertisements. He says 2BNB’s contributions model led to unreliable service as it deviated from its route to pick up donors.
“We're providing a route and we're going to stay on it,” Trainum says. “We're trying to allow people to get from one point to the other without taking a car. If we deviate, we're taking that trust.”
The initial route will begin at the west end of Carytown and travel east on Cary Street to Shockoe Bottom before heading back west on Main Street. Like 2BNB, The Hop will be trackable through GPS, with stops marked on its website.
The first ride leaves across from the Carytown Kroger at 6 p.m. Friday, and will run through 3 a.m. Saturday.