Let’s talk transit in Hampton Roads, VA. In addition to some bus service changes that have rolled out in the past month – and still to come, officials at Hampton Roads Transit have been talking about other issues affecting the area’s transit system. In this roundup post, I’m going to be discussing some of these happenings. Let’s take a look!
If you reside in the Hampton Roads area, chances are, you’ve at least heard about the Connect Hampton Roads plan, and perhaps have even taken the survey. If you haven’t heard about Connect Hampton Roads yet, then let me tell you briefly about it. The Connect Hampton Roads plan is aimed at asking the public for input as to what they need as far as better public transportation, as well as get the public more engaged in talking about public transportation in their area. These needs range from enhanced local and express bus service, to expanded passenger rail, to a network of Park-N-Ride lots, and more! With arterial highways becoming more congested, the need for better transit could not be more clear.
In late November/early December, the results of the Connect Hampton Roads survey were compiled, and HRT intends to use the results to present a comprehensive transit development plan to bring forth better transit service. Some other suggestions from respondents include more bus shelters, real-time transit information, and cleaner and safer buses.
NEWS LINK – Read more about what people are saying.
Following a devastating transit shutdown due to several snow storms during early 2014, HRT has approved plans for 11 emergency bus routes that would be activated if sustained snowfall exceeds 6 inches. Corridors will receive priority snow plowing to allow buses to traverse when needed, thus allowing customers to return home without fearing that they’ll be suddenly stranded by heavy snowfall.
Routes will be distinguished by color and stops designated with a snowflake sign in that route’s color. Service will operate 6:00am until 8:00pm Monday through Saturday if activated. Sunday service will not be provided, and paratransit services would also not run, since regular bus service would be suspended during such emergencies. It is currently unclear if light rail service would be able to operate during emergencies.
Route maps are currently being formulated and should be available towards the end of 2014.
Faced with a continuing budget crunch, HRT has found itself in a messy situation…literally. You may have seen the photos from local bloggers of trash cans overflowing at bus stops, as well as vandalized shelters. It’s something that no transit agency wants to have to endure with. However, with limited funding, HRT can no longer maintain upkeep of its many high volume bus stops. Instead of sitting around and letting the problem fester, HRT has decided to ask the community for help.
Similar to many Adopt-A-Highway or Adopt-A-Road programs in many states, HRT’s Adopt-A-Stop program allows members of the community, including businesses and non-profit organizations, to help keep bus stops clean. The program is free of charge, but sponsors are asked to sponsor a stop for at least one year. The sponsor would pick up trash at their chosen stop and report any issues, like broken shelter Plexiglas and graffiti to the agency. Each sponsored stop will get its own Adopt-A-Stop designation sign with the name of the sponsoring individual or entity.
Anyone interested in sponsoring an HRT bus stop will need to turn in an application to the agency to be considered. Further information is available on the HRT website.
After pulling out of the unlimited ride pass program last year, Tidewater Community College (TCC) has come to an agreement with HRT to participate in the revised program. Changes to the GoPass 365 program were made during the course of 2013 because the previous program resulted in a massive loss in revenue for HRT, despite high ridership.
NEWS LINK – Learn more about how the agreement was made and what TCC students can expect.
For its January, 2015 markup, HRT is implementing schedule/timetable changes to Routes 4, 41, 45, 118, and 918. Additionally, there will be a routing change to Route 41 by which it will serve the Victory Crossing Transfer Center from the south instead of from the north. The current segment via Victory Blvd will be eliminated in favor of a more direct route along Greenwood Dr and McLean St. A map of this change is depicted below.
New timetables will become available closer to the time that these changes take effect.