DANVILLE, Va.—In a small sign of Virginia’s changing demographics, the Danville transit system is going bilingual, with a Spanish-language version of its transit guide.
The guides are currently available on each of the city’s buses and at area markets and retail stores such as Wal-Mart.
“Our bus drivers were asking for marketing materials to improve communications with Hispanic passengers,” Transportation Director Marc Adelman said. “They were expressing an interest for this because the Hispanic bus population was increasing, and they thought it would be helpful to have marketing information available in Spanish.”
Mr. Adelman said the Spanish guide is only part of a more comprehensive effort by transit officials to bridge the gap between English-speaking and Hispanic residents and to make the system easier to use.
Beginning this month, the approximately 25 full- and part-time city bus drivers will return to the classroom to learn Spanish.
A survey conducted by the transit system in the fall revealed that only 2 percent of riders are Hispanic. Mr. Adelman said, however, the bilingual effort could increase the number of Hispanic passengers.
Bus drivers aren’t the only city employees who will be learning Spanish. Members of the Danville police and fire departments will begin instruction on Jan. 18.