NORFOLK-- Hampton Roads Transit released results of a survey Thursday of Tide riders that seems to indicate strong support for extending the line into Virginia Beach. The survey results were presented at a meeting of HRT's governing board.
The survey was conducted in April and 3000 riders were surveyed.
According to HRT's survey, nearly 60% of riders think the most needed Tide improvement would be to extend it into Virginia Beach.
The survey also indicates that the Tide light rail is attracting a higher percentage of choice riders than local bus service, with 44 percent of those surveyed saying they would drive if not for The Tide.
The survey found that 45 percent of survey respondents on the Tide are under 30 years old, compared to 34 percent on the bus system.
Among other key findings according to HRT:
• Weekday riders using the Tide are primarily going to work or home;
• Saturday riders are more likely to be going shopping or riding recreationally.
They also are more likely to be first-time riders;
• Over 30 percent of all riders board at Newtown Road; and of those riders, 61 percent live in Virginia Beach;
The survey was completed to satisfy the Federal Transit Administration’s requirements for collecting baseline ridership for The Tide.
HRT completed a companion survey of local bus service in the summer of 2011 before the The Tide opened for service.
Another survey is expected in 2013 to assess changes in ridership.