On Wednesday I made my fourth day trip to Suffolk to check out Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) service there. Two major changes had been scheduled with HRT's July 11 board change, though only one actually happened.
The first was the reconfiguration of Route 962, the weekday rush hour-only bus that is the only HRT service in and out of southern Suffolk. (Some wag would inevitably point out the through 47 serves northern Suffolk via Portsmouth and a corner of Chesapeake.) It's eastern terminus was moved from Cedar Grove in Norfolk to County & Court in Portsmouth; it's western terminus from the Magnolia Park and Ride to the Suffolk Bus Plaza. The consensus was that bringing the 962 all the way into the Suffolk Bus Plaza has been a huge boost, even though it's cut Route 73 ridership.
Yes, they're still at the Suffolk Bus Plaza. A new transfer center had been constructed at the new building that houses Suffolk's Social Services and Health departments, but the move there is mired in local politics. Let's hope the Suffolk City Council can put their egos in check and do the right thing, agreeing to move the transfer center.
Ridership appeared to be down from my previous visits, and I was given a couple theories. However, one of them simply doesn't wash.
I was happy to be able to bring people up to speed on the status of the bus shelter they want for the Farm Fresh on Route 71. I'd twice heard it discussed at TDCHR meetings.
A couple people wanted Saturday service, both on the mainline routes and the 962. However, the Suffolk City Council would need to fund it. The impetus is so those who work Monday - Friday could take the bus shopping on Saturday. Currently mainline service in Suffolk is only on weekdays and just until 6 P.M.