Hampton Roads Transit's (HRT) Metro Area Express (MAX) is slated to begin operations in June. Replacing the current Route 61 (Crossroads), it will offer express service on special buses with extra legroom, WiFi service, and high-backed seats.
Coming into Pembroke East on the Route 20 this morning, I was surprised to see a MAX bus parked ahead. I got off and headed forward to take a look at it. Pretty nice. The intriguing thing was that it was there, as Pembroke East is not on the pending MAX route for Virginia Beach .
That subject came up on the trip to Richmond last Thursday. I told HRT's Tamara Poulson that the MAX route for Virginia Beach is doomed to failure as configured. It originally started as 19th Street/Pacific Avenue, VB Convention Center, Silverleaf Park & Ride, downtown Norfolk. Somewhere the convention center was dropped. Last August the City of Virginia Beach requested that the MAX go to Town Center (rather than Silverleaf) during off-peak hours. We're left with a 19th Street/Pacific Avenue, Silverleaf, downtown Norfolk route. It's success would require:
1. Plenty of riders going directly Norfolk - Oceanfront.
2. Silverleaf users on a scale much higher than HRT's previous failure there.
Town Center (or Pembroke East) not only brings the Central Business District on board, but makes for easy transfers between the MAX and the Route 20.
It's such a no-brainer that only government couldn't get it right.