2 The Bottom and Back Launches New Website
The 2 The Bottom and Back free bus service has been catching on in Richmond.
The bright green busses run three nights a week.
Appelman: Our mission, really, is to combat drinking and driving, educate people on the perils of drinking and driving; we also help provide relief to the poor and less fortunate with their transportation needs, and really just want Richmond to enjoy the benefits associated with mass transit.
Sandy Appelman is one of the people responsible for 2 The Bottom and Back.
Appelman: I had a business plan for this about five years ago that I spoke to a number of different people about, people in the transportation industry, people involved in the city. It was well-received by people, just not necessarily the right people to help make it happen and then one day in August of '09, I saw a news story that, you know, Jim Porter is driving a schoolbus, providing transportation, and like you know, my heart dropped, and I wasn't jealous, I was, you know, I wanted to do this because Richmond needed it and I didn't care who did it as long as somebody did it and I was thrilled that somebody started doin’ it.
He got in touch with Porter right away.
Appelman: We immediately hit it off. We both had, believe it or not, the same vision, the same goals, he's the front man of the company, he really is the one that is coined with starting this, but I think he wanted the research I had done and the business experience I had and the contacts I had to come along with him and really make this happen in the city on a larger scale.
2 The Bottom and Back owns four busses. How do you buy and operate buses that people can ride for free?
Appelman: When we first started out, we were very donations-funded, you know, the service was new, people were just ecstatic that we existed, and the tips on the bus, which are actual donations were fantastic, and they still are fantastic, but you know, at that point, we didn't get a lot of corporate donations or restaurant or bar donations because I think their perception was 'people have tried this before, it didn't work, let's see if you're around six months from now before I, you know, I can promise you 300 dollars a month or whatever to help keep you running.'
2 The Bottom and Back is approaching its first anniversary.
Appelman: We're still around and, in fact, we're growing, so I think businesses and companies and big community partners and players are really seeing the benefits of what's going on with us.
The Route is simple and the stops aren’t scheduled.
Appelman: From the top of Carytown, we make our turn at Thompson Street or Ellwood Thompson's, we go all the way down Cary Street, all the way to Shockoe Bottom, we make a left turn on 18th Street and go over to Main; and we take that, we take Main Street to the Market at Tobacco Row, I think, I believe that's 25th and Main, where we turn around and we just come all the way up Main right through the heart of the city right back up to the top of Carytown, and we currently run Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights from 6pm til 3am.
Last week, 2 The Bottom and Back launched its new website 2bnb.org.
Appelman: We've got a brand-new tracking system, it's linked on the website so you can actually see the busses move in real time. They can look at their Smartphone and see where we are, they can look on their computer. We also plan on implementing screens in a number of different establishments in town that just show the tracking.
You can’t miss the 2 The Bottom and Back busses, they’re very green, and Appelman says, they could get greener still.
Appelman: Jim picked out that color green, number one, because he wanted it to be noticeable, recognizable and different, and number two, we also do want to show people that mass transit is a green movement in itself; you've got 200 people that aren't driving on a Friday night and taking the bus, that in itself is part of a green movement, so if the bus works on that route, we are exploring the bio-diesel aspect of getting the busses converted.
John Ogle, WCVE News