I went to Williamsburg again yesterday and here’s my report:
Williamsburg Area Transit Authority launched a new pass program at the beginning of this year and for me, my trips here and there mean my best value is $2 for an All Day Pass. Drivers just had a staff meeting the other day about making time points and, as I was on Orange Line (Train Station / Tam-0-Shanter / Best Buy / Water Country Back Entrance), we sat for several minutes at a couple of points to wait for it to be time to go.
Several of the operators I spoke with were curious about the GoPass365, which I use on my travels, and I explained that basically it’s HRT’s equivalent of showing a WATA operator your Thomas Nelson or William & Mary ID.
Now, my big big gripe: HRT Route 121 (NNTC / Patrick Henry Mall / Train Station:
There is but one single round trip in the morning, and one single round trip in the afternoon. I boarded the 5 PM trip from WATA Station to head home, and get this
- We left 7 minutes early (4:53 PM instead of the correct 5 PM)
- We left before all WATA buses arrived
Of course I blasted an email off to HRT because I can easily see the run being more popular if it would just wait for the 5 PM WATA lineup and people knew they could depend on the 121 waiting for them.
Passenger count for Route 121:
- 7 on at WATA Station
- 2 off / 8 on at Patrick Henry Mall
Bear in mind that there could’ve been more if the bus simply waited for it’s schedule and allowed all WATA buses to arrive
Luckily I wasn’t caught in the mess today, as my riding was exclusively on Trolley Base vehicles. For those caught in the mess, HRT has absolutely no excuse.
Here’s what happened today:
So seeing all the commentary on HRT’s Facebook page, there are several questions about new Route 43. I’m going to ride it tomorrow and will change any answers as needed, but for now, a list of frequently asked questions:
I’m currently on Medical Leave from Woodrow Wilson, recovering from foot surgery. I’ve been riding buses plenty of times lately, and I feel there’s been a lot of problems lately.
I’m in a wheelchair (10-16 in HRT radio speak) and several buses have problems with the restraints. 95% of the problem buses are the 1995 Gillig Phantoms and the Orion Vs (the 500 series and 900 series buses, respectively).
As you can see from this image of Bus 509, one of the straps to secure my wheelchair is missing. Also, the seat belt (to keep me secure in the chair) is also missing. This is a very common problem among the 500 series Phantoms and 900 series Orions.
What’s worse is, among all buses in HRT’s fleet is that the securements are usually extremely dirty and sometimes, the seat belts are tied in a knot that must be undone before I can be secured on the bus.
I went to the Light Rail presentation today (more on that later) and on my way there, I caught the inbound 20 scheduled to leave Pembroke East at 12:18 PM.
Bus 511 pulled up (one of the ancient relics from the old PENTRAN), so I wheeled up to the bus to make it clear I wanted to ride. The operator got out of his seat, exited the bus, and explained to me in a very professional manner that the bus was missing its wheelchair securements and asked if I would wait for the next inbound 20.
I made a counter-offer to transfer out of my wheelchair once I was on board, since I absolutely could not wait for the 12:48 PM bus, which is what I did.
Throughout the entire experience, the operator was very professional and it was a pleasant experience.
One question to HRT (and the cities, which feed HRT a “starvation diet” of cash): why are some of these pieces of trash still on the road? If they must be on the road, why do we not have adequate and/or non-existing wheelchair securement restraints on these buses?