Another Monday off, another Monday trip into downtown Norfolk for a matinee. Leatherheads is a flat soda: the content is there, but no fizz.
I took Route 23 today, which was 10 minutes late leaving Military Circle. We drew one of the newer buses, Bus 2020, a low floor Gillig. Coming in about 10:50 A.M. to Cedar Grove, I saw the previous 310 (Downtown Shuttle) pulling out. Just missed it.
There were two Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) Staff vehicles at Cedar Grove: a van and a car. A second van joined them. There were 45 people waiting for buses. The half-dozen shelters were full with people trying to avoid the drizzling rain.
The 310 I took downtown had 24 passengers, a HRT Staffer, and the driver on board. The bus was an Orion, ancient rustbuckets that HRT keeps in service due to their large capacity. (The oldest Orions in HRT's fleet are 12 years old, and served in Atlanta as part of the transit fleet for the 1996 Summer Olympics.)
It was surprising for 4 P.M.: only 10 people on the 310 going to Cedar Grove. Staff was once again on board to do counts. Another Orion.
This time I got very lucky: entering Cedar Grove, we came up right behind the Outbound 23. I only had a bus length to walk. Yet another Orion, and it was SRO at rush hour. True to form for a bus it's age, it had a mechanical problem: the rear door wouldn't shut properly. Everyone had to exit out the front.
It reinforced a couple from last week:
1. Reschedule the buses going to Cedar Grove, with the now regularly late 23 getting high priority.
2. The portajohn issue. With that many people waiting at Cedar Grove, they can use that time to go 10-39.