Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads (TDCHR) meetings normally run about an hour. Thursday's went about 130 minutes, featuring a stormy debate around the fare verification & security services for The Tide contract.
You all want the light rail news. The Tide's maintenance facility is down to the punch list phase. Communications systems are on the ground. Systems integration testing will be completed by mid-June. Phase 1 of the Military Highway park and ride will be done by the second week of June, with the others done by July. The revenue service launch date will be announced by June 15, probably on June 9. It will be a date "in the near future".
Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) is $1.33 million under Budget for FY 2011. A plethora of bus maintenance issues during the past month cut into the surplus. In addition, the Budget for FY 2012 was passed.
Ridership for FY 2011 is up 4.6% over FY 2010, and ridership in April, 2011 was 3.3% greater than in April, 2010.
Four contracts were awarded on Thursday. Three were routine: for The Tide marketing campaign surrounding revenue service launch, Phase 2 of the Military Highway park and ride (which involved a four party land swap), and repairs on Elizabeth River Ferry II.
The fare verification & security contract sparked a broader debate about the fairness in awarding Tide contracts in general. Staff will now prepare a report on contract awards. After a heated discussion, the contract was awarded on a 7-3-1 vote.
For the buffoons in the extremist Virginia Beach Taxpayers Alliance (VBTA) who have tried to make issues of both fare verification and safety on the trains, Top Guard Security will now be patrolling them. Shut the hell up!