Last chance to speak up on HRT

Published 10:26 pm Saturday, November 26, 2011

Residents concerned about the end of Hampton Roads Transit service in Suffolk have one final recourse to make their feelings heard.

HRT will hold a public hearing on the change on Tuesday, but it’s already clear the city’s mind is made up.

The city broke up with HRT to save money during the budget process. The four routes cost the city more than $700,000 each year, with about a third going to HRT administration.


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When HRT recommended eliminating two of the routes — but would still be requiring the same amount in administration costs — that was the last straw for Suffolk.

Soon after, the city unveiled its budget, which included eliminating the HRT service altogether. The routes will end Dec. 30.

Though the city held public hearings on its budget, which brought some people out to protest the change, HRT also must hold a public hearing on the matter.

It’s nearly a moot point, as the city already has found another partner for its transportation services.

Virginia Regional Transit, which already operates transportation services in 10 counties on the Eastern Shore and in the Piedmont region of Virginia, has signed a contract to pick up routes 71 and 74 beginning Jan. 2. It then will begin a study to find the optimal way to restructure the city’s transportation system.

The study will include routes and fares. The cost to the city also has yet to be determined.

The public hearing will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday at the Health and Human Services building, 135 Hall Ave.