Tuesday, August 30, 2011

To Ride or Not to Ride: Hampton Roads Transit

Why don’t more HU students ride the bus? Is it because it’s dirty, unreliable, and confusing? Yes, yes, and yes. Is it cheap, gets you where you’re going eventually, and cheap? Yes, yes, and yes again. For easy perusing I shall break this down into separate sections. By using the bus you can save a lot of money, and by planning in advance, you can save time too.


Don't let this be you.
Bus Stops

There are 2 main bus stops that HU students can use, as well as a secondary stop at the Veterans Hospital. The first main stop is the bus stop by the Burger King. This stop is only serviced by 2 buses, the 117 bus that goes to HU and the Veteran’s Hospital, and the 961 express bus. Make sure that if you take the 961 that you stand on the opposite side of the street, or you’ll find yourself in Norfolk really quickly. In reality, you should only take the 961 in an emergency since they charge you $3.00 one-way.

The second main stop is the Hampton Transit Center, which is actually a 15-20 minute walk away from campus. However, if you’re traveling with friends, which I highly recommend you do, the trip seems much shorter. Not to mention that it can take longer to wait for the bus than to just walk to the transit Center. It will also cost you $1.50, in addition to the $1.50 to get to your final destination, just to get to the Transit Center, which is where the 117 bus goes to anyway.

Fares

Your typical one-way bus fare will cost you $1.50. This is way cheaper than one of your friends with a car charging you for gas money, especially considering today’s gas prices. Keep in mind that you can buy your tickets with a credit card at the bus station, or with cash, but know that once you’re on the road and trying to get on another bus, they will only take cash, and if you have more than enough, they will not give you change. This is why I usually suggest getting the all day pass, formally known as the GO 1-Day Pass.

The GO 1-Day Pass costs $3.50 but is still much cheaper than getting a ride or getting a taxi. It is also very helpful if you get lost, because if you get on the bus, and don’t have change, you will be out of luck. Unfortunately, this has happened to me more times than I want to remember. Learn from my mistakes. 

Once you become really good at riding the bus, you might only need to take one bus each way, in which case you can just buy 2 one-way cards to save 50 cents. I know, penny-pinching, but if you ride the bus regularly, the nickels and dimes start to add up. I keep a special jar just for change in my room, so I will always have extra change for the bus. 

Additional Information

HRT website: http://www.gohrt.com/

Hampton Roads Transfer Center
Location: 2 W. Pembroke Ave, Hampton, VA 23669
Phone: (757) 222-6100

Newport News Transfer Center
Location: 150 35th St. Newport News, VA 23607
Phone:  (757) 222-6100


Important Tips
When in doubt, ask the bus driver. If you're in doubt about anything at all, ask them before you leave the bus. Doing so can be the difference between getting to your destination and being stranded in Newport News. Good questions to ask are:
  • When is the last bus leaving here?
  • How long before the next bus?
  • Where does this bus go?
  • Is there a different stop for coming back?
  • Will this bus get me to my destination? 
Asking questions is very important! Many things can potentially go wrong. Just asking these questions can stop you going in the wrong direction. The HRT websites also has additional useful tips and tools.

    I know what you're thinking. "Suzy this is all really helpful, but where can I go? Stay tuned for my post on Thursday, giving you specific instruction for getting to malls, grocery stores, and shopping centers.

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