New bus service begins

Published 9:15 pm Monday, January 2, 2012

Virginia Regional Transit will begin service in Suffolk today with two former Hampton Roads Transit routes, 71 (top) and 74 (bottom).

A new bus service is running in the city beginning today.

Virginia Regional Transit now is providing service to two routes formerly serviced by Hampton Roads Transit. The city made the switch to save money as part of its budget process.

The new service will run the old Routes 71 and 74. Fares will be $1.50 for each boarding or $3 for an all-day pass.

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“The only difference riders of these two routes should notice will be the drivers and the style of bus,” City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn wrote in a Dec. 27 letter to City Council members.

Route 71 runs from the bus plaza on Saratoga Street to locations including Walmart, Farm Fresh, Sentara Obici Hospital and Lakeview Medical Center. It will make hour-long circuits beginning at 6:30 a.m. The last visit to the bus plaza will be at 6:18 p.m.

Route 74 runs from the bus plaza to Carolina Road, portions of East Washington Street, the White Marsh Plaza and portions of the Lake Kennedy and Hollywood neighborhoods. Its service begins at the intersection of Dill and Carolina roads at 5:53 a.m. and continues hourly until its last stop at the bus plaza at 6:12 p.m.

Day passes can be purchased from the Suffolk Treasurer’s offices, or riders can pay cash on the bus if they have exact change.

Bus users have been informed of the changes through fliers on all buses within the city, announcements on the city municipal channel, a public hearing, notices on the HRT and city websites and other avenues, Cuffee-Glenn said in her letter.

VRT will honor HRT’s multi-day passes through Jan. 31.

Handi-Ride service will be provided by Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia. Customers must be within three-quarters of a mile of Route 71 or 74. Existing certifications will be honored for 90 days while new certifications are made. All certified riders should have been contacted by HRT to notify them of the change.

HRT will continue to operate the MAX 962 route, which stops at the Magnolia park-and-ride lot on Portsmouth Boulevard, at least through July 2012, according to Cuffee-Glenn’s letter. A separate ticket for the MAX is necessary.

VRT is working on a comprehensive operation analysis that will lead to a recommended transit plan for the city. The analysis should be complete in the next 60 days, Cuffee-Glenn wrote. Once complete, the findings and a recommendation will be presented to City Council for consideration.

For more information about the bus changes, call transit manager Maria Ptakowski at 514-7715.