The Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads (TDCHR) held a long meeting on Thursday. Normally the governing board of Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) meets for about an hour, but this meeting went about 105 minutes.
The big item was an overview of the efficiencies report. First some general information was given, then numbers for each individual city. The TDCHR vote will now be in May, not the previously-slated April. Any changes would be implemented with the January, 2012 service board change.
What I found disappointing was the lack of detail. Which routes are being cut? None were specifically named. The Top 18 routes will be boosted, but the only singling out were route lines on crude maps on the PowerPoint. (I could figure out most Southside, but was guessing on the Peninsula.) Granted, HRT has only spoken to 2 of 7 cities so far (Hampton and Virginia Beach), but to get bus riders buy-in you need to get information to them ASAP.
There was a Presentation on Phase II of the Regional Transit Vision Plan, with the TDCHR unanimously voting to endorse.
The high drama of the day was over the Vehicle Advertising Services contract. Staff recommended a new contractor, even thought the existing contractor had tendered a better bid. In addition, attorney Bill Bischoff alleged procedural issues in acting on the bids. When HRT President Phillip Shucet could not get clear answers to the questions raised, the TDCHR voted to defer the awarding of the contract.
HRT is $1.858 million under Budget for FY 2011. Acting CFO David Sullivan warned the TDCHR that Budget numbers will get wacky at the end of the fiscal year, as neither light rail revenues nor expenditures will be made in May and June.
A new light rail revenue service launch date will probably be announced sometime in May.
Senior Vice President of Operations Homer Carter will retire April 4. Temporarily, Bus Operations Director Bill Law will report directly to Chief of Staff David Sullivan. (I'll miss Homer.)
It is planned to have a Retreat recommendation for the TDCHR at their next meeting, April 21 In Hampton.