On Tuesday Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) held two Public Hearings on proposed changes on downtown Norfolk shuttle service. With the advent of light rail service, Route 310 would be eliminated, the NET be slightly reconfigured, an $1.50 fare charged for the NET (it's always been a fare-free service), and limited NET service into Ghent launched.
Around 30 people attended the Noon Hearing, with about two dozen at the 6 P.M. Public Hearing. The Virginian-Pravda's Debbie Messina was at the Noon Hearing, but not the 6 P.M.
HRT's Marie Arnt read a legal statement to open the Public Hearing, followed by Chief Planning & Development Officer Ray Amoruso giving a Presentation on the proposal.
Three speakers attacked putting a fare on Norfolk Electric Transit (NET). Another speaker wanted to maintain both the NET and 310. One man wanted the NET to go up Granby Street between Cedar Grove and 21st Street, rather than Monticello Avenue. Three City of Norfolk employees claimed to be speaking on behalf of their agencies in opposition, despite City of Norfolk planners having helped draft the proposal.
I myself spoke, addressing the issue of capacity. I stated the proposal won't work unless either a large number of current bus riders take the train downtown, or the bus transfer center is moved downtown in order for mainline buses to help distribute passengers. (There would be four hybrids an hour going between Cedar Grove and downtown, a total of 104 seats.)
The Public Hearing opened the same way. This time it was dominated by students and faculty from Tidewater Community College's Norfolk campus, concerned about the impact on them. Amoruso later revealed that there are ongoing negotiations between HRT and TCC about providing an annual TCC bus pass, which would easily solve their problem.
Two temps complained about the effect on them trying to work downtown. Also, opposition was voiced over the route deviation in the Scope/Chrysler Hall area.