City bus service expanded

Published 9:56 pm Friday, June 22, 2018

City Council voted unanimously to approve longer hours and Saturday service hours for Suffolk Transit during Wednesday evening’s meeting.

L.J. Hansen, assistant director of Public Works, gave a presentation to City Council during their work session and regular meeting. He outlined the proposed changes — renamed routes, extended weekday hours, Saturday service and updated routes.

Public Works proposed name changes for some of the routes to add clarity for some riders.

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All of the proposed changes will become effective July 1.

“We had a Yellow Route, an Orange Route and a Gold Route. Those don’t map well, especially when you start to look at electronic maps,” Hansen said.

The proposed change would rename the Gold Route to the Pink Route, and the Blue Route would be renamed the Purple Route.

For the first time, Public Works proposed having Saturday service for residents.

All of the routes will run like normal except the Yellow and Red routes. Those two routes will be combined to make a hybrid downtown route called the Blue Route.

The Green, Orange, Purple and Blue routes will run from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and the Pink Route will run one hour shorter than the others, stopping at 3:30 p.m.

Along with new weekend hours, Hansen also presented additional weekday hours.

The Green, Orange, Purple and Yellow routes will now run for 12 hours from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The Red Route will run an additional hour from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and the pink route will run for an additional four hours, from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. and from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Those that spoke at the public hearing were happy to have additional hours and Saturday service. The proposed changes will make running errands and getting to work a less stressful venture.

“Having more service hours will allow me to get to my new job now, and I’m happy with weekend service hours because I can take my children and go downtown,” said Carl Jackson.

“I am one of the ones that asked for a Saturday route. I do work, and they ask me to work on Saturdays, and I have to tell them I can’t,” said Sheila Walker.

The Purple Route, formerly the Blue Route, will be extended to encompass more of the Harbour View area.

“This will allow us to service more businesses up there as well as public service facilities,” Hansen said.

The council members were more than happy to accommodate the new proposed changes for Suffolk Transit.

“When we left Hampton Roads Transit, people wondered if it was the right thing to do. It was the right thing, and it has been very positive for our city,” said Mayor Linda Johnson.

“This is a good thing for our city. I think it is really going to help our folks move around the city,” said Councilman Roger Fawcett.