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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Norfolk light-rail service is keeping cars off roads, survey says


About 44 percent of the people using Hampton Roads Transit's (HRT) The Tide would be driving their cars if the light-rail service did not exist, according to survey results recently presented to HRT's board.

The Tide, which began service just over a year ago, also is attracting a higher percentage of choice riders than local bus service, HRT officials said in a prepared statement.

The results underscore the ability of light-rail transit to attract riders who have several travel choices each day, they said.

"In just over a year, light rail has demonstrated its importance to the commuting public," said William Harrell, HRT's president and chief executive officer. "This critical investment in our transportation network will pay for years to come."

The survey results also drew a demographic picture of who uses The Tide: about 45 percent of survey respondents are under 30 years old, compared with 34 percent under that age who ride buses.

Among other key survey findings: Weekday riders use The Tide primarily to go to work or home; more than 30 percent board at Newtown Road and of those riders, 61 percent live in Virginia Beach, Va.; and nearly 60 percent of riders said The Tide's most needed improvement was to extend service into Virginia Beach.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/3/2012