Sunday, July 21, 2024

HRT’s VB Wave route proposal could connect beach communities during the summer

The proposed VB Wave route 35 would begin at this bus stop at 19th Street and Arctic Avenue. (Justin Belichis)
The proposed VB Wave’s route 35 would begin at this bus stop at 19th Street and Arctic Avenue. (Justin Belichis)

VIRGINIA BEACH — A new proposed VB Wave shuttle pilot route could connect Virginia Beach’s northern beach communities to the Oceanfront, if city council blesses it.

The city approached Hampton Roads Transit in October 2015  to look into a seasonal service that would connect the Oceanfront to the Bayfront, according to Antoinette White, HRT manager of service planning.

“What they’re looking at is running a daily seasonal service between Memorial Day to Labor Day, and then cutting it back to weekend service after Labor Day to Oct. 1,” White said.

VB Wave’s route 35 would begin at Arctic Avenue and 19th Street, run along a portion of Pacific Avenue into Atlantic Avenue with a stop at First Landing State Park, and continue to Shore Drive and Vista Circle.

HRT is looking at a 45 minute shuttle frequency and to operate it between 8 a.m. and midnight, White said. It would cost a person $2 to ride it one way.

The proposed route could travel the blue line, connecting beach communities. (Photo courtesy of Hampton Roads Transit)
The proposed route could travel the blue line, connecting beach communities. (Photo courtesy of Hampton Roads Transit)

The city’s share of the cost is $261,000 to operate two shuttles for the season.

Ray Amoruso, HRT chief planning and development officer, said the beach has struggled to find the funding for the service.

Routes 30, 31 and 32 at the Oceanfront are partially funded by the military’s transportation incentive program. Recent talks between HRT and the Resort Area Council resulted in exploring a similar funding method to pay for the proposed route, according to Amoruso.

Route 35 is only a proposed pilot program at this point, but if it meets a minimum of 150 riders a day, Amoruso said it could return next year.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to open up a new avenue of potential ridership,” Amoruso said. “This is an opportunity for us to show tourists who come in the summer that life exists beyond the 40 block stretch from Rudee Inlet to 40th Street.”

HRT is currently in yearly budget discussions with six Hampton Roads cities, and expects to receive written confirmation to approve or deny the route on March 7.

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