Hampton Roads Transit to scale down services due to impacts of COVID-19

Community organization pushes for frequent and adequate bus service in one Hampton Roads city
Posted at 11:16 AM, Apr 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-23 16:44:13-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Hampton Roads Transit will begin operating a scaled-down version of its normal bus service beginning May 9, as a shortage of employees and the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted service.

The Service Reliability Plan will be in place until at least July 1. According to HRT, bus frequencies will range from 30 to 60 minutes on most routes, with major employment centers throughout the region still being served.

Riders are encouraged to plan look up new route times and plan ahead. Those without internet access can call customer service for details at 757-222-6100.

The Tide light rail will run on a 15-minute service frequency, Monday through Saturday, until 9:30 p.m. Afterward, the trains will run on 30-minute frequency.

There is no change to the Sunday schedule for buses or light rail, and there is no change to any schedules on HRT’s Elizabeth River Ferry that connects commuters to destinations between the downtown areas of Norfolk and Portsmouth.

According to HRT, there is a current shortage of 59 bus drivers and an average of about 100 absences per day related to the pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic, 102 HRT employees have tested positive for COVID-19. About 33 percent of HRT employees have been vaccinated so far.

"It’s been difficult to hire people over the last year or so," said HRT spokesman Tom Holden. "We have an aggressive campaign to recruit more people with hiring incentives and benefits packages that we think is attractive."

HRT is hiring bus operators and they’re offering $15-$18 dollars to start. People can apply online now.