NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Hampton Roads Transit hosted a ceremonial ribbon cutting on Friday morning as they kick-off a new campaign to install over 600 new passenger shelters at bus stops throughout the region.

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“We need to ensure that transit customers are treated with dignity,” said William Harrell, President and CEO of HRT. “This is the reason why HRT has prioritized the installation and lighting of more shelters.”

HRT has installed over 40 new shelters over the past few months – 16 of which have been in Hampton alone.

These new shelters are part of a larger project to modernize and expand their service throughout Hampton, Newport News, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach.

Officials say new buses, digital information displays, technology upgrades for better trip planning and mobile ticketing are also part of the program. Funding for the program, which is managed through the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission, was approved by the Virginia General Assembly in 2020.

HRT is also expected to expand service levels on a core network of 13 bus routes that will include 15-minute service frequencies and longer spans of service.

“HRT is laser focused on hiring new operators, mechanics and other staff in order to assemble the needed workforce to implement new services,” Harrell added. “Future staffing levels will drive the timing of program implementation.”

Weekend service also will be enhanced on the core regional network, in addition, to express commuter trips on MAX and Peninsula Commuter Service routes that connect to major employment centers like Newport News Shipbuilding and Naval Station Norfolk.