Strong Growth in Ridership

SOURCE: Hampton Roads Transit, December 2022

In just under two months, monthly ridership on the newly expanded Route 112 in Newport News and Hampton has grown significantly with nearly 10,000 more customers boarding in November than during the same time last year.

Farebox data shows that 33,115 customers boarded the 112 in November compared with 23,830 during the same time last year — a difference of 9,285 boardings, a 39% increase.

The change is being driven in part by more frequent service under the 757 Express which is offering 15-minute frequency during the morning and evening rush hours. This is the first time that transit riders on the Peninsula have had access to this type of high-frequency service. The route serves downtown Newport News, Patrick Henry Mall, and Lee Hall.

Growth in boardings can also be attributed to the change in service implemented in May that returned later evening service to the route which had been temporarily suspended due to bus operator shortfalls. Overall, the growth in ridership underscores what HRT surveys and transit riders have said for years: that customers want more frequent, reliable service with improved amenities.

“This is the evidence we always knew would be there. Providing more frequent service is key to encouraging more people to try transit. We are excited to see these numbers and look forward to a further expansion of the 757 Express.”

William Harrell, President, and CEO of HRT

The 757 Express is envisioned as a network of 13 bus routes connecting the highest densities of people and jobs in the region. Customers will catch a bus every 15 minutes during peak hours 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. every weekday. The first route in this network is the 112. As HRT’s operator employment situation improves, additional regional routes will be added.

In addition to more frequent service, the Express network has placed a high emphasis on passenger shelters. Today, more than 100 new shelters have been added to the transit system. The agency’s goal is to add 620 bus stops with some form of passenger amenity – a shelter, a bench and often a combination of the two. All new shelters have solar-powered lights to improve the evening and early morning transit experience.

Customers now also have access to Real-Time Bus information that lets them track the location and arrival times of their buses using a smart phone and their bus stop number which is found at every bus stop sign. HRT is also adding airport-style display screens at major transit centers to provide customers with a clear sense of when their bus will arrive.