The Transportation, Parking, and Pedestrian Committee (TPPC) of Virginia Beach's Resort Advisory Committee (RAC) met on Thursday morning. The big issue: about an hour was spent discussing the decline in farecard sales for, and ridership on, the seasonal VBWave trolley service. Ridership in June & July was down 32%, while farecard sales were down 45% over 2007.
Farecards are easy to get a finger on: the method of selling them has changed. Some Ticket Vending Machines (TVM) have been removed. There's a greater reliance on retail sales, especially through Sunsations.
Ridership is perplexing. One, hybrid ridership is slightly higher than trolley ridership, so it's hard to blame it on the new vehicles. Two, the route that took the biggest hit (Route 32, Shopper's Shuttle) is the route that should have benefited the most from the vehicle change. Three, hotel occupancy was only down 6% in June, while city parking lot usage stayed about even.
Two recommendations came out of the meeting. First, a robust marketing campaign for the VBWave in 2009. Second, the pressing need for a Survey of VBWave riders to get at the causes.
The meeting ended on reminders of chances to have input on mass transit in Virginia Beach, as well as the new Comprehensive Plan.