The Virginian-Pravda's editorial board largely got it right this morning. http://hamptonroads.com/2008/05/no-urgency-beach-transit-options Being The V-P they did get a few things wrong, which I'll cover.
For starters, the first step for improving mass transit service should be adding evening and Sunday service to the outlying year-round bus routes. Other than Route 20 (Virginia Beach Blvd.), the year-round bus routes in Virginia Beach only operate 13 hours per day (6 A.M.- 7 P.M.), six days per week (no Sunday service). It would only cost about $750,000, a small sum in a nearly $1.8 billion City Budget. It's a monument to the Virginia Beach City Council's misplaced priorities that it hasn't already been done.
That brings me back to Virginia Beach Boulevard and the Route 20:
1. Hampton Roads Transit's (HRT) 2030 Plan does call for every 15 minute service all day on Route 20.
2. Personally, I believe Virginia Beach should wait and see what Route 960 (the new MAX route) does before seriously considering every 15 minute service.
3. Route 20 does already run every 15 minutes at rush hour, though only between Newtown Road and Pembroke East.
4. Light rail is the obvious solution to Route 20's woes, as the line would roughly parallel the 20.
A couple things about the 20 from experience as a rider:
1. It gets crowded after 3 P.M. through rush hour.
2. Taking it home from RAC meetings, the 20 can't make the Oceanfront to Pembroke East segment in the scheduled 37 minutes at rush hour. (That's part of why light rail, not more buses on the 20, is the long-term solution.) The 20 that leaves 19th & Pacific at 5:07 even has trouble making it to Pembroke East by 6 P.M.
As for City Council waffling on the bus shelter issue at their Retreat on Monday, I sent them a follow-up e-mail. HRT has a criteria for what stops get shelters, but there's a way of prioritizing those.
I've heard talk among civic league representatives with the CCO about connecting middle-class subdivisions into mass transit. However, we can improve bus service on existing routes while figuring out exactly how we'd do that. (Yes, I have some ideas.)
The lack of bus service in Virginia Beach has made for some interesting conspiracy theories. First, City Council doesn't provide it (and other services) to try to keep the poor from moving to Virginia Beach. Second, it's a ploy to keep minority youth out of Virginia Beach after dark. (Heard that one repeated by an African-American male on a bus coming home from Norfolk on April 25.)
As it's Sunday, HR Transit Idea's Michael Ragsdale can't get a bus out of his neighborhood. Check out his blog later for him weighing in on this issue.