Thursday, November 25, 2010

Transit Notes November 25, 2010

My paycheck direct deposited this morning, so it was off to Walmart for groceries and a new watch. Thanksgiving is one of three holidays (along with Christmas Day and New Year's Day) that Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) goes to a Sunday schedule for. That took me through the Military Circle Transfer Center at the 9:45 A.M. and 10:45 A.M. lineups.

1. 3 of the 4 buses I was on had smaller loads than normal. However, my Inbound 20 to Military Circle was about 85% full.

After boarding the Outbound 15 at Military Circle, I became concerned that a Flat Earther would photograph one of today's buses and cite it as "proof" of the urban legend "empty buses."

2. The Inbound 23 was MIA at the 9:45 A.M. lineup. That's what had me on the Outbound 15 for Walmart.

3. Ran into Wally Erb, as we were both entering Walmart at the same time. He said he'd be back on to comment about my local Gas Tax for transit idea.

Okay, Wally. However, how would you pay for those buses you've been talking about?

4. The 10:45 A.M. lineup could only happen on a major holiday: my Inbound 15 was four minutes early into Military Circle, two buses (the Inbound 20 and Outbound 15) were already there, while the Outbound 20 came in a short distance behind us.

5. With a greenhorn Operator on that Outbound 20 and Customer Service closed for Thanksgiving, I had to play customer service agent myself at the 10:45 lineup:

a. Centerville Turnpike and Indian River Road - that would be Route 12, which doesn't run on the Sunday schedule.

b. Lynnhaven Parkway and Princess Anne Road - Routes 12 (Lynnhaven Parkway) and 25 (Princess Anne Road) cross there, but neither runs on the Sunday schedule.

c. Robert Hall - that's the wacky Sunday 15 schedule into Chesapeake.

6. On my Inbound 15 entering Military Circle, a young woman was loudly complaining to someone on her cell phone about everything be closed today. She wanted something to eat. Seeing the adjacent Hardee's, she told her caller she was going over there for chicken.

On Thanksgiving? I don't think so.


Jessica Clark said...

So Wally, how's your Light Rail Referendum petition coming along?

I know my family back in Va Beach didn't sign it because they actually support light rail! (I was supposed to be in the area for the holiday, but check out the Seattle Transit Blog to see why I'm not)

Henry: I'm sure you saw the article in the Pilot today. Lost of people want light rail to ORF Airport.
A) What would finally convince the airport to let HRT come inside?
B) Since LRT to the airport would be years off, what bus routing would you propose in the mean time, along with frequency & service hours (and yes, it better be 7 days a week)
C) If an airport extension of The Tide was built, how many years (from now) would you speculate it opening?

Jessica Clark said...

(and yes, this is the reason I fly PHF: because I can catch the 111, even though it's such a pain with luggage + a wheelchair)

Avenging Archangel said...


Not only would an airport extension be at least a generation off, but I wouldn't build it. The issue is that, even with a parallel runway, ORF will hit capacity by 2030. Therefore, the airport would probably be obsolete before we could get a line there.

The Virginia Department of Aviation proposed a new airport on the Suffolk - Isle of Wight line about a decade ago. I'd build it, then extend LRT from the Norfolk Starter Line's western terminus there via an expanded Midtown Tunnel and Portsmouth.

How do we reach ORF in the interim? A couple possibilities:

1. Randy Wright spoke of a shuttle bus from the Military Highway Station.

2. I'd run an express bus Oceanfront - VB Town Center - Newtown Road Station - ORF. That would get people to the airport not only from LRT, but Town Center and the Oceanfront.

Given your employment, thought you'd find it interesting that ThinkPoint tried hitting my computer earlier today. A nasty beast.

Avenging Archangel said...


While you're here and we're speaking of funding, could you explain for Wally (and others) how Washington state puts quality transit out there through a local Sales Tax?

Jessica Clark said...

Funding for Washington State Public Transportation Benefit Areas (PTBA) is provided under the Revised Code of Washington. See RCW 82.14.045:

As to what a PTBA is, see RCW 36.57A:

For example, the Pierce County Public Transportation Benefit Area (dba Pierce Transit) is funded under RCW 82.14.045 by a 0.6% sales tax (that is, 6 cents on a $10 purchase). Note that King County Metro (where I live) is NOT a PTBA, but instead a division of a county department (thus I don't use them as an example).

Now, with the recession we are struggling just like everyone else (see Save Our Buses: )

As for fakepoint, see:

Jessica Clark said...

Now for ORF Airport: I would endorse option 2 (could you give me some details please?)

An Airport in Suffolk? Sounds like Sea-Tac (airport code SEA) in SeaTac (it's not in Seattle). As long as there's decent transportation there

Wally Erb said...

Taxation: Henry, your support of regressive taxation has me concerned. The only taxation I could support is a local graduated income tax that most metropolitan cities use to support subsidized services. Knowingly, it will require GA action. It's a nature of the beast.

Irrespective of other national locales, working at our church's food bank distribution, a significant number of families have qualified for participation. Reluctantly, criteria must be adhered because of the USDA products we also include in the distribution.

Henry, in South Hampton Roads, one out of three families are seeking assistance from food banks. This figure has been unparalleled. Politically, this not a figure that leadership is willing to recognize.

Hopefully you can understand my opposition to a regressive sales or gax tax that would have a greater impact on lower disposable income families than affluence.

Avenging Archangel said...


My original idea was to modify the 960 to make such a run. (It still ran throughout the day at the time.)

However, there's now an Oceanfront - Town Center - Newtown express bus under consideration. You could simply attach the extra leg to it.

Wally Erb said...

@Jessica Clark:
Ah, the snow. Sorry to hear you missed the time with your family. Perhaps you could celebrate at a later date.

I see the in the subsequent blog the buses were hampered using reduced holiday an snow routes. Problem with light rail, there are no alternate snow routes, and accessibility routes to the light rail station could be iffy.

Fortunately, snow in south Hampton
Roads is not prevalent. But flooding is.

Avenging Archangel said...


Without dedicated funding, our region is bound to continue to limp along with the same woefully inadequate mass transit. I avoided taking on the issue for a couple years knowing what a political hot potato it is. However, I've come to face the stark reality of it.

No need to tell me about the condition of our poor: I live in a low-income apartment complex. Things can be tough for me, and are usually worse for my neighbors. However, my neighbors and I need mass transit to get around. Therefore, we'd pay a fraction on the Sales Tax if necessary to get things done.

Avenging Archangel said...


While flooding may be prevelant here, it only disrupts bus operations 1-2 days per year. What flooding problems there are largely fall in downtown Norfolk.

Under what's being discussed for VB LRT, we'd have a garage and maintenance facility in the periphery of Oceana. Therefore, Virginia Beach operations could be easily maintained.

Jessica Clark said...

@Wally: you will note that throughout the entire snow storm, Central Link Light Rail between Downtown Seattle and SeaTac/Airport as well as both lines of the Sounder Commuter Rail were maintained with minimal disruption. The only real slowdown was the extra loads of passengers looking for alternatives to stuck buses.

I see that you seem to think things are free (in that you won't support tax increases to pay for them). Have a look at King County Transit Now! and the 2008 ST 2 vote as an example of "yes, we want a tax increase to pay for transit"

Wally Erb said...

Henry, I don't doubt your awareness of the your surroundings, however it is quite more drastic and far reaching. Although the unemployment claims are dropping, so are incomes. Once affluent, now families as working several lower or minimum wage jobs. Embarrassment, stress, and declining family structure is rampant. An increase regressive taxation at this juncture is total and economical disaster for some.
Faith-based organizations are unable to keep up the demand. To slow economic velocity will only make matters worse.

Wally Erb said...

@ Jessica Clark

I don't know what the economic climate was in 2008 King's county, but in 2010 Virginia Beach/Norfolk the only tax increase that would occur would be imposed and not approved by voters.

Jessica Clark said...

Wally, out here we've had numerious *voter approved* tax increases to pay for public transit:

* King County (King County Metro)
* Thurston County (Intercity Transit)
* Island County (Island Transit)
* Snohomish County (excluding City of Everett, which is outside of the Snohomish PTBA) (Community Transit)
* Regional Transit District (Sound Transit)
* City of Bellingham (Watcom Transit Authority)

In fact, the Bellingham one was approved this election during the midst of the recession

Avenging Archangel said...


For all your rhetoric about buses, you need to pay for them somehow. If ruling out fees and taxes, how?

Wally Erb said...

The first step is FTA region III grant submission under Title 49 U.S.C. 5333(b).

Then the acceptance of outsourcing franchise bids from private sector jitney, minivan, shuttle feeders to supplement HRT corridors.

Needless to say this does require occasional bureaucratic work-around.

Wally Erb said...

Back to light rail. Let's accept the fact that the premise of the Tide is not congestion reduction but development. The development of a viable secure, multi-route, increased frequency, increased operating hours, bus system in Virginia Beach is about moving people and allowing more freedom to solely dependent on public transportation with the hope build ridership from optional riders.

Avenging Archangel said...


Your 10:22 proposal isn't going to come for free. Those Operators are going to expect a subsidy. (Think they'll transport at $1.50?)