NORFOLK, Va. - Residents in two local cities will soon have an easy and affordable way to get around town.
Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) announced Thursday that Hampton Roads Transit OnDemand will begin in select areas of Newport News and Virginia Beach on Sunday, July 10.
The new pilot program will allow people who live within designated service zones in these cities to request a shared ride via an app on their phone.
"I think it sounds very convenient," said Dwayne Cannion, who uses HRT daily.
The program will last six months and will be evaluated for its effectiveness, ridership performance and lessons learned in mid-January 2023.
“We want to see if we have a market, if there’s a demand for this type of service, and to see if it’ll help compliment our fixed route services,” said project manager Amy Braziel.
HRT says the goal of HRT OnDemand is to explore how on-demand transportation can be sued to expand the region's access to flexible, equitable mobility and make it easier for residents to connect with existing public transit options.
Customers can book a ride using the HRT OnDemand mobile app, available in the Apple Store and on Google Play or by calling 757-979-2955.
Once a ride is entered with pick-up and drop-off locations, the system will provide ride options for time and location. Riders will then be directed to a nearby "virtual bus stop," located within a short distance, and a driver will be sent to meet them at that location.
Customers will be picked up in a van displaying the HRT logo and rideshare brand.
Rides are shared by users, and passengers will have a seat based on availability.
“This program marks a major step forward for Hampton Roads Transit,” said William E. Harrell, president and CEO of HRT. “On-demand service represents our vision of how transit can respond to market forces to provide the public with innovative and reliable options for travel.”
HRT OnDemand will operate Monday-Friday from 5 a.m. until 9 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.
Users can enjoy free rides through July 24. The cost to ride is just $2 starting July 25.
Wheelchair accessible vehicles are available.
For more information about the HRT OnDemand pilot program, click here.