SOURCE: Hampton Roads Transit, July 2022
Hampton Roads Transit OnDemand begins operating July 10 in select areas of Newport News and Virginia Beach, offering residents an easy and affordable way to get around town. This unique service allows customers within designated service zones to request a shared ride using a smartphone app.
The goal of HRT OnDemand is to explore how on-demand transportation can be used to expand the region’s access to flexible, equitable mobility, and make it easier for residents to connect with existing public transit options. Customers can book a ride by using the HRT OnDemand mobile app (available in the Apple Store and on Google Play) or by calling (757) 979-2955.
Once a ride is entered with pickup and drop-off locations, the system will provide ride options for time and location. Riders are directed to a nearby “virtual bus stop,” located within a short distance and a driver is dispatched to meet them at that location. Customers will be picked up in a van displaying the HRT logo and rideshare brand. Rides are shared by users. Passengers will have a seat based on availability.
“This program marks a major step forward for Hampton Roads Transit. On-demand service represents our vision of how transit can respond to market forces to provide the public with innovative and reliable options for travel.”
— William E. Harrell, President and CEO of HRT
HRT OnDemand will operate Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. until 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. Users can enjoy free rides through July 24. Beginning July 25, the cost is just $2 per ride. Students with a Student Freedom Pass and paratransit-certified users ride free throughout the program’s duration. Wheelchair accessible vehicles are available.
HRT OnDemand is funded through a grant from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation and the Cities of Newport News and Virginia Beach. The program is powered by technology by Via, the global leader in TransitTech. Via builds innovative software that enables cities, transit agencies, transport operators, school districts, universities, and corporations to transform legacy transportation systems into advanced digital networks.
“Via is thrilled to deepen our relationship with Hampton Roads Transit to bring flexible, tech-enabled public mobility to the Newport News and Virginia Beach communities. We look forward to seeing how HRT OnDemand extends the reach of the area’s existing transit options and makes it easier to access opportunities without needing to rely on a private car.”
— Dillon Twombly, Chief Revenue Officer at Via
HRT OnDemand is a six-month pilot program that is only operating in select areas within Newport News and Virginia Beach. In mid-January, it will be evaluated for its effectiveness, ridership performance, and lessons learned.
About Via: Via is the global leader in TransitTech. Via’s software is used by more than 600 communities globally to build tech-enabled public transportation networks and has successfully powered HRT’s Dial-a-Ride paratransit service since February 2020. Other Via-powered services in Virginia exist in Gloucester and Roanoke Counties, and the Town of Wise. As pioneers of the TransitTech category, Via’s mission is to expand access to efficient, affordable, and sustainable transportation. Via’s software enables organizations to digitize existing transportation networks and launch new and innovative services, simultaneously lowering operating costs and increasing quality of service. Via’s software is used in over 500 communities in more than 35 countries around the world.