Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Cedar Grove Day 17

With my bus pass (30 Day ED) set to expire on Friday, I made the trip to Hampton Roads Transit's (HRT) Monticello Avenue office to buy a new one this morning. (Why I don't buy them at Silverleaf is another story....) The trip showed me some problems still existed, while some new ones have appeared.


My original plan was to transfer from the 20 to the 23 at Military Circle, taking the 23 to Cedar Grove. (Route 23 has more than twice as many places to go 10-39.) However, the 23 was running about twenty minutes late, so I got back on the 20.

The driver on the 20 had a nasty attitude. Shortly after we left Military Circle, I called the Superintendent of Southside Operations to report an incident from yesterday. Apparently the driver overheard enough of my phone conversation to know who was speaking to who: his attitude dramatically improved, and he started doing everything by the book.

On the bus there were still a few people unaware of the switch from downtown Norfolk to Cedar Grove.

Turning into Cedar Grove, the 3 was directly ahead of us, but it pulled out. I had seen the 1 at the front of the conga line, so I ran for it. It was starting to pull out, but stopped for me. I made the hop up to Monticello on it.

Great time buying the bus pass: a soft-spoken young man did the best Customer Service job I've ever had there.


I walked back to Cedar Grove from the office. Not only did I not want to wait for a bus, but I wanted to test the distance for future trips.

Ominously, a repair crew had come to work on the parking lot. Apparently all those 18 ton buses on it has damaged it. (Not designed for that, was it?)

A lady was still not familiar with Route 310, the free Downtown Shuttle.

I made change for two people needing it for bus fare. That's a regular request you'll get from fellow riders, as the drivers themselves won't make change. (That and I'll get asked to use my cell phone.)

After a wait of about twenty minutes, the 23 Outbound arrived. The bus was surprisingly full for that hour on the 23. About two-thirds full; the 23 normally runs less than half full midday. It and the other two 23s I saw were all operated with Orions. Route 23: Antique Alley.

Unusual sight: the Route 9 had a 2000 series Gillig on it. The 9 is a backwater catch-all route (like the 4) that usually gets older equipment. HRT trying to kiss up to Norfolk State? (The 9 runs on the northern periphery of the NSU campus.)


1. The 23 is FUBAR with the Cedar Grove stop. It needs rescheduled ASAP.

2. Still not 100% awareness on the Cedar Grove changes 2 1/2 weeks later.


Michael Ragsdale said...

A few people unaware of the change? In all my bus rides, (at Military Circle anyways) everyone's said "Catch the 20 Downtown" and would contradict me when I said "The 20 doesn't go Downtown anymore". It's lots of fun trying to explain Cedar Grove to people. Speaking of Military Circle, the "copy machine" passenger alerts are long gone. I think the one at TCC Va Beach is still there (it's another "rushed copy machine" one like Military Circle alerts).

Whenever I've seen the 9, i'm used to seeing Gillig Phantoms (1200 and 1700 series), but you're right about 2000 series Gillig Lowfloors (formerly called Gillig Advantage) as of late.

I wouldn't be surprised, if the Norfolk-NSU-HRT saga continues, Nofolk suggests HRT pulls out the 3000 Gillig Lowfloors (even though we both know the real reason for them and know full well that HRT can't do that) for Routes 9/18 (I got to read an operator notice put out for the New Year 2008 service tweaks, that's how I know about 9 and 18 being interlined).

Anonymous said...

Idea: How many people actually head to Best Square?

I've carried 1 or 2 at most. Maybe that 15 or 25 could go back there

-a route 23 operator

Michael Ragsdale said...

That's an interesting though.

Not possible for the 15: it's late enough as it is, especially heading inbound (that's relative to Robert Hall)
Route 25? Hmm...that's an interesting idea. I think I might talk to VB Base drivers and find out what they think. It might be possible if the cutback trip was eliminated.

Michael Ragsdale said...

Though I will say, messing with the 25 schedule would create one heck of a mess and things might be worse than they are now.

Avenging Archangel said...

23 Operator,

Thanks for commenting. I allow anonymous comments - in part - to allow feedback from inside people like you.

Yes, that tag to Best Square is due to get scratched with light rail. Both the 15 and western split of the 20 would go to the Military Highway LRT Station.

That would take care of it in the long term. What we do in the interim is the question.

Michael Ragsdale said...

I'm going to play around with Google Maps tomorrow to see what kind of estimated running time (I know it'll never be accurate) I can come up with. I'm playing with the operator's suggestion of Route 25 Best Square/Military Circle/Holiday Inn/TCC-Va Beach

It might be possible if the Military Circle/Holiday Inn cutback is eliminated (yes, I can hear the uproars now) and instead route both buses to do the whole trip every trip. Yes, I know that will mess up connections (people complain as it is at Military Circle with the 25)

Anonymous said...

hey no problem. Though I know riders will scream about this (you included, as I read your previous entries), perhaps these ideas:

1- Eliminate the 23 coming into Cedar Grove
2- Eliminate the underused legs (PETA/WVEC and Best Square)

I'm not in favor of 1 because yes, I do pick up/drop off plenty of passengers in Cedar Grove. Don't worry, we're constantly having discussions about this in the operator lounge and these were the two popular ideas. And yes, they are still clueless about Cedar Grove. I've seen them sit right at Military Circle when the Cedar Grove 20 leaves. One even asked, "When does the Downtown bus get here?" I told the truth: "You just missed it; that's it making a left now"

-that same Route 23 operator
(if you can, please keep withhold my name because I'm not sure if HRT allows me to say any of this)

Avenging Archangel said...

Personally, I have no problem with eliminating either Best Square or PETA/WVEC. I've only used the former once, while never the latter.

Don't worry: this site doesn't track IPs, so you (and other operators) are safe to post.

Anonymous said...

Now how would I get to work if the Health Department leg was eliminated?

Avenging Archangel said...

Anon 10:20,

Being from Virginia Beach, I had to mapquest your location. (VB's Health Department is adjacent to Pembroke East.) Yes, you'd have a problem.

We could fix the 23 by simply dropping Best Square. How many people use the PETA/WVEC loop?

Michael Ragsdale said...

I used it twice:
1) When I needed to replace my Food Handler's Permit
2) When I went to complain about a restaurant that was infested with flies

This loop has three primary destinations (this is the order the bus passes them):

1) Health Department (site of future Tide station)
2) PETA (no, I don't agree with them - they harassed me when I used to work fast food)
3) WVEC-TV studios

Anonymous said...

I work on Corporate Blvd. Some of my cowpekers wouldn't mind catching the 15 if the walk light was longer at Military Highway. I hear it every day with 23 buses

Anonymous said...

Meant to say coworkers. Having keyboard difficulties

Michael Ragsdale said...

I think the Best Square leg should go. Minor tweaks for now:

* Make it easier for Corporate Blvd passengers to catch the 15, as suggested, by timing the light so people could walk to the bus stop for the 15 on Military Hwy
* Create an official stop for the Outbound 15 to serve Popular Hall DMV (it's served right now by the Inbound 15 and the Outbound 23). Maybe have the 15 make a right on Popular Hall and create a stop in front of the DMV

Anonymous said...

Re: How many people use the PETA/WVEC loop?
There's about 6 of us who catch the 23 every morning leaving the Hospital at 8:30