Free rides. HRT has signed up two more businesses for its GoPass 365 program, in which businesses and educational institutions pay an annual flat fee for its employees and students to ride all of HRT’s services for free, including light rail, bus and ferry.
Portfolio Recovery Associates, headquartered next to the Military Highway station with 1,200 employees, and Glasser & Glasser law firm downtown with 220 employees are now participating. Tidewater Community College is considering the program.
They join Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University, Eastern Virginia Medical School and Norfolk Southern Corp. in the program.
In all, just over 34,000 people now qualify for the free rides just by showing their work or student identification. In return, HRT has collected about $368,500 in revenue.
Employers with 500 or more workers pay $75 per employee to be part of the program. Employers with less than 500 pay $125 per head. Educational institutions pay $6.50.
HRT does not have data on how many free rides have been taken.
The Tide is changing.
After one month of service, several revisions are underway to make light rail more attractive and user-friendly, including adding wireless to the trains and an online ticket-purchase option.
“It’s really about what’s the best service for our customers,” said Philip Shucet, Hampton Roads Transit president and CEO, adding that the enhancements will not push the price beyond the latest $318.5 million project cost.
“They add more value to the project overall than their costs,” he said. “They’re very prudent revisions to make.”