Community Conversation on New Norfolk Bus Transfer Station

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Community Conversation on New Norfolk Bus Transfer Station

The City of Norfolk invites you to participate in a community conversation to help determine the future location and design for a new Bus Transfer Station in Downtown Norfolk. It’s time to develop a bus transfer station that supports bus travel as a  transportation option of choice – one that is accessible, attractive, safe, clean and inviting.

Join us to discuss the appropriate location, layout, design and appearance for this new City asset. We look forward to seeing you there.

Norfolk HRT Bus Transfer Station

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Join HRT to Celebrate One Million Tide Rides!

Celebrate One Million Tide Rides

We’re celebrating One Million rides on The Tide light rail in Norfolk!

Please join William Harrell, President and CEO of Hampton Roads Transit, along with Mayor Paul Fraim and DRPT Director Thelma Drake this Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at MacArthur Square Station, 12:30pm.

Refreshments provided by Bean There Café and by Jimmy John’s.

We look forward to seeing you and celebrating together!

For more information on Hampton Roads Transit, visit

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HRT CEO, Philip Shucet, Goes Out in the Style He Rode In On: Success!

Source: HRT

Outgoing HRT CEO on remaining agency officials: “These people tell the truth”

By Jon Cawley,

HAMPTON — Outgoing Hampton Roads Transit CEO Philip Shucet attended his final meeting Thursday of the agency’s governing board. And in true Shucet style, he didn’t mince words.

Shucet began his monthly management report to the board, that is comprised of local and state officials, by referencing his being hired two years ago to right the listing transit agency. That was done in the wake of a scandal over mismanagement of the Norfolk light rail construction project that resulted in the resignation of several key agency officials and a federal probe.

“It wasn’t necessarily competency that did these people in, but the simple absence of telling the truth,” Shucet said. “And that’s unfortunate.”

During his tenure, Shucet oversaw the completion of light rail construction. Since opening late last summer, ridership has eclipsed initial estimates of 2,900 daily passengers. Shucet also spearheaded other efforts to increase agency transparency and improve bus system efficiency to stave off fare hikes.

Shucet used the meeting opportunity to point out that he considers HRT’s current administration to be a group of “rock solid people.”

“These folks tell the truth. They know what that means,” he said. “They always tell the truth, even when its not pleasant.”

Before moving on to a portion of the meeting where several special presentations were made to Shucet, board Chairwoman Pat Woodbury, a Newport News City Council member, noted he’d done “an outstanding job.”

“I’m sorry to report there is not a bonus,” Woodbury quipped.

During a presentation, HRT’s chief of operations Jim Price talked about how HRT was able to overcome its problems under Shucet’s leadership and successfully open the state’s first light rail line.

“It was wildly successful. And it really was Philip’s effort, attention to detail, leadership, his unwilling to compromise that allowed us to open,” he said. “I tell you, those principles of honesty, openness, not hiding things — he didn’t suffer victims easily. Either you led or you were a victim. If you were the latter, you didn’t hang around very long.”

At the end of the month, Shucet will return to the private sector where he runs a consulting business. His replacement, William E. Harrell, Chesapeake’s city manager, will assume the CEO position April 2.

After the meeting, Harrell said he just wrapped up presenting Chesapeake’s budget and plans to spend his first 90 days as HRT’s CEO developing an action plan. Until that effort is completed, Harrell said he is not ready to discuss potential changes he may recommend.

However, Harrell noted: “One of the things I’m committed to is spending a day a week on the Peninsula doing significant outreach with TRAC (the Transit Riders Advisory Committee) and business owners on the Peninsula to increase ridership.”

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The Tide Light Rail Still Successful, 6 Months Later


By Debbie Messina
The Virginian-Pilot
February 18, 2012


Measuring The Tide’s impact in its first six months goes beyond noting that there’s standing room only on many trains heading out of downtown at 5 p.m., and that many more people are riding than were expected.

Consider that roommates Stephanie Garcia and Jubilee Whaley rented an apartment within walking distance of a station so they could ride to college and work.

Or that Kevin Henderson realized he and his wife need only one car between them because he commutes to work every day on The Tide.

Or how Nick Georges slowed the pace of his life to ride a bike on a nature trail from his home to the nearest rail station, but then sometimes never boards the train and keeps pedaling.

Norfolk’s 7.4-mile starter light-rail line, which launched six months ago Sunday, has drawn an average of 4,642 riders on weekdays, 4,850 on Saturdays and 2,099 on Sundays, when trains run fewer hours. About 2,900 weekday riders had been forecast.

Since it opened on Aug. 19, nearly 750,000 trips have been taken on The Tide.

Hampton Roads Transit President and CEO Philip Shucet predicts that The Tide will hit its 20-year projection of 7,200 daily rides within three years.

Ray Amoruso, HRT’s chief planning and development officer, is confident a customer survey scheduled for next month will confirm that many of The Tide’s riders are first-time transit-users.

“Light rail has been a beacon for this organization to attract new customers,” he said. “I also think it’s gotten citizens of this region more focused on transportation choice – that there are choices beyond the single-occupant automobile.”

Ken Scott was skeptical when light rail was being planned and built. As a Norfolk citizen, he worried about the impact on taxpayers. As a resident of a neighborhood adjacent to the rail line, he was frustrated by construction and detours getting to his home.

“I take that all back now,” said Scott, who is retired from heading the Norfolk airport and regularly takes light rail for meetings downtown, to meet friends for lunch, and for medical appointments. “It’s a great service.”

He said the trains are reliable, clean and safe. Light rail has an on-time rate of 99.1 percent.

Kimberly Yates started riding this month when her job was transferred to downtown Norfolk.

“I didn’t want to deal with the traffic and the parking,” she said. “I’m definitely less stressed, less rushed.”

All it took for her co-worker Mary Augustus to start riding The Tide was paying $12 to park for the day. She did it twice before hopping aboard light rail.

Adelia Green, who drives to the Military Highway park-and-ride from her Shore Drive home and then rides The Tide downtown, likes saving money and avoiding congestion.

“It takes a little more time, but it’s worth it, not dealing with traffic in and out of Norfolk every day,” she said.

Green’s commute is paid for by her employer, Norfolk Southern Corp.

Norfolk Southern is one of 13 businesses and institutions so far to enter agreements with HRT to pay a fee that allows their employees and students to ride rail, buses and ferries for free. Among the largest are the city of Norfolk, Old Dominion University, Tidewater Community College and Norfolk State University.

In all, nearly 70,000 people can ride for free while HRT collects more than $700,000 a year.

Shucet said HRT has not had to persuade employers to try it out, rather that many have come to HRT asking to be part of the program.

Meanwhile, HRT’s safety record for its first six months is “stellar,” said Martin Schroeder, chief engineer for the American Public Transportation Association.

There were three minor accidents (two with cars and one with a bike) while drivers were training, but since The Tide started carrying passengers, there have been no collisions.

Schroeder said a 2009 federal study of light-rail systems shows an average of 10 accidents per system per year.

“If you compare The Tide to other systems out there, you’re doing better than average,” he said.

Shucet credits a number of factors, including a public education campaign, operator training, and a hazard analysis that added rumble strips and fences to some sections shortly before opening.

But mostly, he said, it was working closely with Norfolk’s traffic department to ensure that the traffic signals and the train signals are in sync, so that cars, pedestrians and trains aren’t in an intersection at the same time.

“We revisited some intersections two, three, a half-dozen times,” he said. “… All of that has paid off.”

Debbie Messina, (757) 446-2588,

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Hampton Roads Transit will extend bus service to Norfolk International Airport through March 31

Source: HRT

By Cindy Clayton
The Virginian-Pilot
February 14, 2012


Hampton Roads Transit officials will extend bus service to Norfolk International Airport through March 31.

They want more time to gather information to determine whether the new route should be permanent, according to an HRT news release. The service had been scheduled to run through March 10.

If 10 riders per hour use the service, HRT could continue the new route 7. The hourly service runs from 5 a.m. until 11:47 p.m., seven days a week and costs $1.50 per trip.

Route 7 serves the arrivals and departures terminals on the hour and connects riders with the downtown area and Cedar Grove Transfer facility by way of Norview Avenue and Tidewater Drive.

It also serves the Bromley, East Norview, Five Points, and Green Hill Farms neighborhoods along Norview Avenue, which were not being served by HRT.

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HRPTA Board of Directors Meeting Set for January 10, 2012


Contact: Sylvia Hill, Program Committee Chair
Phone:  (757) 962-0134

Date and Location for HRPTA’s January Board of Directors Meeting set for January 10th at MacArthur Memorial Research Center

Norfolk, January 2, 2011 – The Hampton Roads Public Transportation Alliance (HRPTA) has set a date for the January Board of Directors meeting for January 10th. The meeting will be held January 10, 2012 from 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM at the MacArthur Memorial Research Center, 198 Bank Street, Norfolk, VA 23510.

HRPTA Board of Directors meetings are public events and the citizens of Hampton Roads are invited to join in public comment. There is no cost to attend, however an RSVP to is requested.

The Tide light rail stop closest to the MacArthur Memorial Research Center is MacArthur Station. A map and schedule can be downloaded at  You can also plan your route using Google Trip Planner for utilization of public transportation here:

The HRPTA is a regional network for individuals and organizations dedicated to promoting a viable multi-modal transportation system supported by stable and reliable funding. For more information, visit

Current members of the HRPTA Board of Directors: W. Randy Wright (President); Will Christopher (Vice President); Keith Parnell, MSE (Secretary); Erin D. Corrie (Treasurer); Sandra W. Brandt; Judith E. Brown, PhD; Allan Carpenter; Joshua Clark; LCDR Kevin D Corrie; Lindell A. Davidson, PE, FASHRAE, C.E.M.; Gary Dubour, Jr.; Sylvia Hill; Terry Hitt; Chelsea L. Jenkins; Carolyn McPherson; Ray Taylor, RAdm (ret); Bruce Watts.


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Virginia (and Norfolk to Petersburg) Amtrak Service Funding Restored


By Debbie Messina
The Virginian-Pilot
December 2, 2011

Virginia will not lose the bulk of its Amtrak trains because of federal budget cuts as was feared.

The new federal appropriations act restores the money the House originally eliminated for regional train service. Under the proposal, Virginia would have immediately lost 64 percent of its Amtrak trains, including Newport News service and the anticipated Norfolk service that’s to start in less than two years.

State rail advocates, including Virginians for High Speed Rail and the Piedmont Rail Coalition, mounted letter-writing campaigns to congressional members to save the services. The highly successful Lynchburg-to-Washington train would have been cut as well.

Congress, instead, eliminated funding through September for high-speed rail. States can still apply for money for high-speed rail through other funding programs but must compete with roads and transit for that money.

“Overall, this is really good news,” said Daniel Plaugher, executive director of Virginians for High Speed Rail.

High-speed rail grants already announced, including Virginia’s $119 million for federally mandated studies and track improvements, are not affected.

And because the state is in the midst of this work, the Department of Rail and Public Transportation was not looking for additional money now, said department spokeswoman Kim Kovac.

“The impact on Virginia is minimal,” Plaugher said.

While this year’s Amtrak funding was spared, a law passed in 2008 would end federal support of regional passenger rail in 2013 anyway, and Virginia has been working with Amtrak on a payment structure and with state legislators to identify funding.

The General Assembly this year created a vehicle to pay for passenger rail, the Intercity Passenger Rail Operating and Capital Fund, but did not fund it.

Debbie Messina, (757) 446-2588,

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HRPTA The Tide Launch Day Festivities p.IV [video]

HRPTA was present for the launch day festivities of The Tide light rail system in Norfolk, VA on August 19, 2011. This is the fourth in a series of videos that will chronicle the exciting day for Hampton Roads.

I Rode The Tide

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HRPTA The Tide Launch Day Festivities p.III [video]

HRPTA was present for the launch day festivities of The Tide light rail system in Norfolk, VA on August 19, 2011. This is the third in a series of videos that will chronicle the exciting day for Hampton Roads.

I Rode The Tide

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HRPTA The Tide Launch Day Festivities p.II [video]

HRPTA was present for the launch day festivities of The Tide light rail system in Norfolk, VA on August 19, 2011. This is the second in a series of videos that will chronicle the exciting day for Hampton Roads.

I Rode The Tide


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