HRT announces new electric buses; Northam signs HRT funding law to improve service

Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — It’s a glimpse into the future of public transit.

Six battery-powered buses will soon become a part of the Hampton Roads Transit system.

“That means no soot, no smoke, no harmful emissions,” said HRT President William Harrell.

HRT officials say the new buses will be deployed along Virginia Beach Boulevard between Downtown Norfolk and the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. HRT has agreed to remove the same number of diesel buses from its fleet.

The buses are quieter and have zero tailpipe emissions.

Along with the bus ribbon cutting, Gov. Ralph Northam signed two bills for dedicated HRT funding — the first time that’s been done in HRT history.

“A lot of work went into this legislation so they could create this program so they have a sustained source of revenue to keep this transit running,” said Northam.

Harrell says this means new connections, faster commutes, and better reliability.

Currently, the six cities served by HRT fund the system, but now the dedicated bills will help create a new regional program of routes paid for by state and regional funding.

Part of that is expanding 15-minute service.

The first routes to be addressed for that will be on the Peninsula in Hampton and Newport News which currently doesn’t have any 15-minute service.

This means the Kecoughtoan Road, Jefferson Avenue, and Mercury Boulevard routes will be first to see these changes.

“Because of the way we’re funded, it could take two hours to get someplace you can drive in 20 minutes. So this will allow us to have 15-minute service something the people of Hampton Roads have deserved for many years so this is a big deal for the 757,” said Harrell.

Harrell you’ll see that first electric bus on the road in about a month or so.


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