This afternoon the hybrids were officially introduced at a 2 P.M. ceremony, then put into revenue service an hour later. The Virginian-Pravda's story is here http://hamptonroads.com/2008/05/new-greener-shuttles-be-unveiled-virginia-beach
Hampton Roads Transit's (HRT) press release is at http://www.gohrt.com/aboutus/pressroom/05212008vbwave.html
Among those in attendance were HR Transit Ideas' Michael Ragsdale and I. We spent some time beforehand with HRT CEO Michael Townes, who charged us with a mission for regional mass transit. (You'll find out about it in due course.) We chatted with some HRT Staff, and I introduced Ragsdale to a few attendees I thought he needed to know.
Virginia Beach City Council and HRT Commissioner John Uhrin, Townes, and Mayor Meyera Oberndorf gave speeches. There was a ribbon cutting on the lead bus, then a ceremonial first ride.
On the first ride were Townes, Oberndorf & her husband, Uhrin. Ragsdale & I, CCO President Sam Reid, CCO 1st Vice President Dan Baxter, some HRT Staff, and even a few tourists from a neighboring hotel. Ragsdale educated the Mayor with his vast knowledge of HRT.
Humorous moment: walking from the speeches to the bus, Virginia Beach Museums Director Lynn Clements came over to lobby me. (Scusa, but I'm busy.) She then asked if Ragsdale was my son. (I'm old enough to be his dad, but may this devout Catholic never father an Episcopalian.)
Interesting moment: in her remarks Mayor Oberndorf turned to CEO Townes and told him if he could get us the Norfolk Southern Right-of-Way at a reasonable price, we could start to talk light rail.
(I refer to Michael Ragsdale as "Ragsdale" in this story as, a few times talking about HRT, when I've used the name "Michael" people have assumed I was talking about CEO Townes.)