NORFOLK, VA – This month, Hampton Roads Transit and Naval Station Norfolk are celebrating one year since the launch of the Base Express. This FREE service began on December 4, 2022, and has carried nearly 32,000 sailors over the last year.
Two routes connect service members and their families, veterans, government employees, and contractors, with major destinations in and around the base. The Gold Route operates seven days a week, providing last-mile service from outside the gate, starting at the Navy Exchange. The Blue Route operates exclusively on base providing weekday service to stops along Virginia Avenue and the piers.
Ridership on the Base Express routes has grown exponentially. Data shows around 1,100 customers boarded in December 2022 compared to more than 4,100 in October 2023. That’s an increase of 266% in the first 11 months.
“We’re excited to see so many service members taking advantage of this free service,” said William Harrell, President and CEO at Hampton Roads Transit. “Our goal was to provide mobility options so that service members can access resources on and off the military base, and these ridership numbers confirm that the Base Express is doing just that.”
Sailor Richard McMenamin told HRT he rides the Base Express to get back and forth from his barracks to the commissary, while Sailor Melany Lahm said she rides almost every day to get to work at the pier and to connect with HRT’s other services.
“Since the opening of the Base Express last December, the service it provides has drastically improved the quality of life for those living and working onboard Naval Station Norfolk,” said Capt. Janet Days, Naval Station Norfolk Commanding Officer. “From simply a vision years ago to forging a wonderful partnership with Hampton Roads Transit to make this a reality, it is phenomenal. We are so thankful and look forward to growing this awesome service for years to come.”
The Base Express is currently funded by a Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) Transit Ridership Incentive Program (TRIP) grant and is operated in partnership with Academy Express, LLC.