HRT working on deals for costlier GoPass365 program


Hampton Roads Transit is beginning to strike deals to keep its GoPass365 ridership program running at colleges and major employers under scaled-back arrangements that will charge much more per pass.

Norfolk State University officials have agreed to buy 600 passes at $250 each for the fiscal year beginning July 1, said Ray Amoruso, HRT's chief planning and development officer, on Thursday. The university plans to give them to students on a first-come, first-served basis and monitor the demand before buying more, Amoruso said.

The city of Norfolk is considering a similar arrangement, but one in which workers would pay half of the cost of the $250 pass if they want one; the city would cover the rest, Amoruso said.

City spokeswoman Lori Crouch said by email that specifics are still being worked out and that the City Council would have to approve any deal with HRT during its budget vote later this spring.

Old Dominion University's executive board also is weighing a deal, as is Newport News Shipbuilding, Amoruso said.

Less progress has been made toward new agreements with Tidewater Community College and Eastern Virginia Medical School, he said. Students, staff and faculty at the two institutions are covered under deals that will expire June 30.

Representatives from EVMS and Old Dominion University told HRT's Board of Commissioners last month that they could not afford the transit agency's higher asking price and fretted about their students losing the perk.

The GoPass365 program allows users to ride without paying a fare on any of HRT's services. Former CEO Philip Shucet started it in 2011 to boost ridership and fill empty seats. It began costing the agency so much in lost revenue that it prompted Shucet's successor, William Harrell, to begin overhauling the program last year.

Under the original offer, HRT charged schools and employers lump sums based on how many students or workers they had, and every student or worker was automatically covered. Colleges were billed $6.50 per person. Rates for employers ranged from $25 to $200, depending on the total number of workers.

HRT lost an estimated $2 million in fare revenue over one year. Use of the passes peaked in January, when they accounted for about 334,000 trips, according to agency statistics. There were about 267,000 trips taken on them in March.

Under the new program, Norfolk would buy at least 600 passes in the scenario that Amoruso presented, putting its minimum share of the expense at $75,000. The city paid about $130,000 in 2012 for every employee to be in the original program - a deal that covered some 5,600 people, according to HRT records.

Revamping the GoPass program was one of the top recommendations of a critical report earlier this year on HRT's finances. The changes were under way by the time the third-party review was done at Harrell's request through the American Public Transportation Association.

The HRT Board of Commissioners last month ordered their internal auditor, David Taylor, to investigate the report's findings. He returned Thursday with a spreadsheet that said all of the issues raised by the peer review were known by HRT staff and in most cases already were being addressed.

Taylor, a board appointee who is independent of the agency's CEO and staff, also said that items in the report were worded in such a way that they sounded more serious than they actually were.

Dave Forster, 757-446-2627, dave.forster@pilotonline.com

Posted to: Light Rail News Norfolk Traffic - Transportation

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Oh say it isn't so!

"The deal resulted in HRT losing an estimated $2 million in fare revenue over one year". So I ask again.... what happened to this pot of gold from the $900,000,000 TOD in Norfolk? His Moribundship, et al were going on like a broken record about how TOD would pay for this train wreck. Once again the moribund boo birds who opposed this carnival ride have been vindicated. It has been a taxpayer funded black hole for Norfolk and if the Bank of Will et. al. buys into it, we in VB will be sucked into it as well.
The blatant malfeasance going on with this train wreck is amazing to me. And all involved will get a golden parachute retirement. What a sad state of affairs.

Miracle man Suchet boosted

Miracle man Suchet boosted ridership numbers before he bailed to build EZPass toll gantries for critical passages in the region.

The whole bulk purchase thing is kind of a head scratcher anyways. It's like the government is buying from the government. Sort of how you see the ads from other government agencies stuck to the tide, you know it's a case of shifting budget numbers around.

As far TOD, I don't think many people give up their cars and move near the Tide yet. If it is heavily expanded, that could happen but it's not going to bring property values up to bubble highs.

Tougher Questions

Why didn't HRT's auditor mention the top heavy upper-management, or what is being done to rein that in? Why isn't Ray Amoruso ever been questioned about his role as a URS consultant during the Tide scandal? Why is Phil Shucet's proposal with Skanska (one of the major contractors who worked on the Norfolk Tide) so much cheaper than HRT's. Why hasn't the Pilot revealed whather or not they have a financial stake in redeveloping their print plant on Greenwich Rd. (which sits along the proposed Va. Beach light rail line)? Why wasn't this information more forthcoming during the referendum?

no free lunch

The City of Norfolk had no business handing out free passes to all it's city employees.

A slap in the face of humanity to the rest of us taxpayers that were left holding the bag.

I expect that little issue to be addressed first off, so far I haven't heard a peep about it. The Pilot left that tidy (pun intended) little fact totally out of the reporting as well.

As an Alumnus of another Virginia college

I'd be hot if my College blew my hard-earned $1,000 donation and $1,000 company match on "tickets and passes". Oh right it's a State school, I already paid along with my company in TAXES along with everybody else.

So ... the city will subsidize the subsidized rides.

No matter ... we'll pay for those rides either way.

You're going to pay no matter what!

Government subsidize driving, parking, and riding. It really doesn't matter how they get to work, you're going to pay no matter what.

Subsidize for the majority

I have no problem using my tax dollars to subsidize roads, or something that will alleviate traffic and congestion, but when you use my money to build something that is a complete waste of money, and has never in any city ever shown to help, I say no thanks.

Nothing will aleviate congestion!

This is a proven fact! Building more roads does nothing to aleviate congestion. Yes, for a year or two it might look like it helped. But eventually, congestion returns becuase more people simply start driving. Not to mention that widening a highway simply initially moves congestion further down the highway.

But light rail can help to mitidgate/reduce congestion, and it does so in many cities around this country. For example, out in Portland Oregon, every driver would see an extra 3.5 hours of sitting in traffic if they didn't have such an extensive light rail system. A light rail system by the way, that over the 16 year period from 1996 through 2011 has cost taxpayers $200 Million less than their buses.


But I would prefer we do it in the most efficient manner, and LR is not it.


Well on average LR is far more efficient than the bus.


Ala the new conference center, and increased property tax.

But city employees can ride for the Tide free! Vote for me!


That's the spirit. Go along to get along. Stick your head in the sand and say, " well, they are going to do it anyway. C'mon, get your head out of the sand.

hrt lite rail

Why in the world are there free riders on the tide i can understand reduced aided rates but not free rides. No wonder they are not meeting the return when ppl are riding free. let them walk as paid users and taxpayers need not to support them.

So it's not empty. Fake it

So it's not empty. Fake it till ya make it.

If it went to the oceanfront, stopping at town center, it'd be a whole new story. I think it would actually get quite a bit of ridership.

If it could make it to Hampton, Ptown, Suffolk... that would be wild.

With the new tunnel going between ptown and downtown it should be demanded that there is a train lane.


And a bike lane,

We could funnel in some oxygen maybe.


loosen your spandex!

You're starting to sound like a broken record...go ride your bike.

Don't wear Spandex

Thanks, think I will, ride my bike that is, all I needed was a cue.


Is no longer a partner in HRT. They saw the light and bailed.


No, they decided that they like higher taxes.

You are absolutely correct

You are absolutely correct that the new tunnel should carry the train if the concept is that the train will reduce congestion. But the new tunnels is being paid for in full by the drivers who use the current tunnel(s) via tolls. Adding the train I'll add a very significant cost o the new tunnel project. Shouldn't the train riders pay that additional toll also so that they can pay for the train tunnel?

Sadly, we're not building LRT to address congestion, but rather to follow the path of the purchased right of way. Traffic congestion is at the Navy base, all of the tunnels (except perhaps CBBT) and the high rise bridge. A long range plan (subject to change) before construction might have gone a long way toward general acceptance of LRT.

fun in the sun

Let's slap an arterial bike right-away to this baby and ride it to the boardwalk and back.

Are ya' with me?

Without a bike lane it's gonna be no fun, trust me on this one.

Huh? Say WHAT?

"HRT lost an estimated $2 million in fare revenue over one year."

How can this be? All we ever read in the Huffington pilot is how 'all expectations of ridership have been exceeded'. I thought this was an astounding success? How does such a 'success' go downhill that fast?

"The city paid about $130,000 in 2012 for every employee to be in the original program -"

So how much have these 'purchases' skewed the REAL numbers vice the ACTUAL riders? And when I see that a city has made such purchases, doesn't that mean the TAXPAYERS picked up the tab?

The lies here perpetuated by all who champion this fiasco are beyond the pale. Our local media monopoly is leading that charge of lies. YOUR tax dollars at work, sheople!

If you look at a recent

If you look at a recent report from the CEO to the board, HRT had ridership for buses and LRT of a little less than 1.4M in Feb. This article says that 340K riders used the 360 pass in Mar. Assuming each of those numbers holds relatively consistent from month to month, almost 25% of riders were using a go pass. They were riding for free, although there was some level of payment for their ride by someone else. Apparently the difference between real fares and go pass fares is about $2M per year.

I think the go pass program can be fixed and that it is a reasonable concept, but also that its use by the city unfairly gives some employees a significant pay raise, but not those who for one reason or another cannot access the HRT system.


"....although there was some level of payment for their ride by someone else."

Yes, the taxpayers! The taxpayers keep getting hammered on this boondoggle every time they (we) turn around!

HRT Accounting

Which set of HRT's books now shows losses on this program?

Well as they had two sets of

Well as they had two sets of books to cover up the actual costs of this train wreck, it's obvious there are more sets of "studies" to lie about true ridership and costs of operation. This carnival ride has been a blatant off and a sham from the get-go. VBTA was on the mark from the very start.

lost an estimated $2 million in fare revenue

All due to the over-inflated ego of $40k phil and his desire to bankrupt HRT just to inflate his resume showing how he filled empty seats.

$40K a Month

.....Let's be clear, that is $480,000 a year and other perks, such as a CAR (ironic, isn't it? A CAR!)
HRT paid Phil Schucet, an individual that never ran a transit company before, more money than that salary of the President of the United States. Gee, any wonder why HRT is going broke?

Prior to being paid $480K a year by HRT, Phil Schucet was paid by Helen Dragas to run her real estate development company!

HRT is $2M in the hole, yet it pays it's staff lavish and outragious salaries and pays for Golden Parachutes when their CEO (Mike Townes) broke several laws and bold faced lied to the TDCHR, the all-appointed government oversight commission.

But hey ... it is only TAX MONEY, no worries.

Great Business Model - charge those NOT using the service

HRT is a example of WHY government should not become involved in business. Their revenue model is based upon changing those NOT using the service they provide to pay for those that do ride it.

HRT and the media are working together to try to create the idea that:

Ridership = Success.

HRT acquires "ridership" by failing to charge riders the cost of what the riders use. Bribery. This is done to create the impression that HRT services (Buses and light rail) are a "bargain". They are not.

Any business that "sells" their product/service for only 10% to 20% of what their product/sevice actually costs the business will go out of business very quickly.

Unless the business can levy taxes on those NOT using their service.


Government wouldn't be involved in a business like HRT, if it hadn't started subsidizing the road & highway business. You see the revenue model for roads & highways is "Don't charge the users enough money to actually pay for the roads & highways." And since easily 25% of American's cannot drive a car, they are paying to subsidize you, I, and every other driver.

Businesses like HRT used to be privately owned & operated; until Government interfered in the Free Market by subsidizing flying & driving.

If you want to fix things, start lobbying to pay 100% of your driving costs. Once drivers realize just how much it actually costs to drive, HRT will be able to raise fares and it will still be cheaper than driving.

We do

We do pay the total cost of roads through taxes associated with those that use them. The problem is our representatives robbing this fund for projects like LR. Use the money for the purpose it was collected and the roads will be fine.


I'm sorry, but NO, we don't pay the costs of our highways. Not even close, and not even if money weren't being diverted to non-road projects. We drivers manage to cover 51% of the costs of our highways. If we add back in the "diverted" monies, that still only gets us to 65%.


And seeing as how the Federal fuel tax is being diverted from its primary purpose into the Highway Trust Fund, that actually makes things even worse.

The data used in the above link is also 5 years old, a more recent story claims that we drivers are now down to 42% before diversions. I haven't been able to verify that however.


Where do these "Magic" subsidies come from then?
Transportation money fairy?
Obama's Stash?
Where oh where?

Yep!, TAX dollars all.

Just because it was divided into the wrong pot, and then borrowed in a Government accounting scheme, doesn't mean we still don't pay them.

Or, maybe you don't.


I'm well aware of how all that works.

But Reid seems to believe that only the things that he doesn't like get subsidies; while the things that he does like, namely his car on the street or highway, isn't subsidized. I don't accept double standards; sorry. Either everything not being paid 100% directly by the user is subsidized or if we're going to consider driving not to be subsidized then neither is light rail. Can't have it both ways.

Where does the money come from???

Are you serious? Where do you think Transportation money comes from?

TAXES! Federal, State and now Local taxes all go into Transportation.

I can't speak for anyone else here, but I pay WAY TOO much of it now.

And, adding more tax dollars on a TOD project is not what T
tax dollars are supposed to be used for.

I agree, if this area really wants Light Rail, RAISE the TAXES NOW, and do it.

I'm betting most of the 25% that don't drive, don't pay taxes either.


Cites with bus only solutions spend the most amount of tax dollars moving people. Buses cost far more than trains to operate, which long term means that more of your precious taxes are going to be spent than if this area builds a balanced public transit system.

Does it make me happy that mistakes have been made by HRT NO Does it make me happy that they went over budget on things? NO! And all taxpayers should be watching them like a hawk. But we didn't stop building highways after the granddaddy of over-budget projects, the Big Dig. Therefore there is no reason to stop building light rail tracks.

As for the 25%, everyone pays taxes. Yes, maybe not everyone pays Federal Income taxes. But everyone pays sales taxes and most are seniors.

and again the pilot shows its reporting bias

Note they show a picture from 2 years ago, when no one paid for a ride. All rode free.

Why not show a picture of the empty train as it is today?


You took the words right outta my mouth! It is the first thing I noticed when the page popped up.

Why the "leaders" of Virginia Beach are not taking the obvious failures of LRT as an indication that it will do nothing but financially drain VB is beyond me. We already know it will run at a loss, but that loss is much greater than those pushing for it want the general public to know. The citizens NEED to be educated (with complete honesty and transparency) on LRT... and fast... so they can put a stop to it before they're stuck with it!

I will say, thought, that since we've seen a lot of these stories exposing LRT for the massive waste it truly is, I think the bias the PIlot once blatantly showed for LRT, is most certainly beginning to wane.

KLM76, moving people costs money!

It doesn't matter how you move them. Just the subsidies to our highways, forget out the subsidies to our streets, just the annual $100 Billion plus in highway subsidies would pay to run every bus, train, monorail, ferry, cable car, automated people mover, and demand response service in the US for the next 4 years.

Moving people costs money!

At least long term, light rail gets it done for less money than the buses.

Most expensive

Actually studies show that LR is by far the most expensive form of transportation per passenger mile.

even TRT

TRT's own website shows light rail costs more than 3x as much per hour to operate, has the lowest fare box recovery rate, and moves fewer people.

Yes. On a 7-mile starter

Yes. On a 7-mile starter track for a start-up operation with ridership matching what one would reasonably expect vs a transportation network in any other metropolitan area.


There are NO unbiased studies that show that. Yes, there are plenty done by the anti-rail crowd that purport to show that. But none done by neutral parties that show that.

According to the National Transit Database, which is a neutral party, on average in this country it costs 60 cents per passenger mile to move people by light rail train.

It costs 90 cents to do it with a bus.

thanks, genius!

Nowhere in my comments did I say it DIDN'T cost money to move people. But moving people via public transportation is most certainly the least efficient of them. More people who DON'T use it pay more than the people who DO. It's bass ackwards.

Roads are an absolute necessity, while LRT is not. It doesn't remove enough cars from the road to make a difference and runs at a loss (as with all LRT)... a BIG loss in this case.

KLM76, Sorry, but no!

The more than $100 Billion in subsidies just for our highways each year would run every bus, train, monorail, ferry, and demand response service in the US for 4 to 5 years. Or let's go look at Amtrak, which everyone loves to hate. According to the Taxpayer's receipt for 2009, a married couple with 2 kids and $80K in income watched $3.83 of their Federal income tax dollars go to Amtrak. That same couple saw $110.06 go to the highways.

And while you might be correct right now with The Tide since it is so new and so short, LRT does help with congestion. The Texas Transportation Institute's report shows that out in Portland where they move people as far by LRT as by bus, drivers would see an extra 7 hours of delays and LRT accounts for half.

I love how you guys point

I love how you guys point the finger at money spent on roads but fail to mention the fact that roads provide 900 billion times more services than your light rail. I don't want my emergency responders coming to my house via LR. I don't want my mail shipped on your LR. I don't want my groceries shipped from the farm via your LR, Just for once admit that your LR is NOT a transportation project and is nothing but a money tree for a select few. They lied to people about what they were voting on, and than rushed it through only because they knew the holes in their stories would shortly be showing through. Such as the missing 900 billion in revenue, the lie that taxes wouldn't go up, the lie that this was just a "study", etc etc etc.

Tensbar, I love how you ignore the realities.

I agree, I don't want the EMT's coming to my rescue via light rail. Of course mail used to come by train, which was an improvement over the pony express. But you miss the point. All of the things that you describe require nothing more than a 1 lane street and maybe, just maybe a 4 lane interstate highway. Anything more than that is built entirely and only for we drivers. And I am a driver. But unlike you, I realize just how heavily subsidized my drives are.

And I don't have a problem with subsidizing the roads. I have a problem with those who refuse to acknowledge that all forms of transportation, including driving, get subsidies. A spade is a spade, and it doesn't matter if you're in your car or on The Tide, you are getting a subsidy!

Too funny!

Buses operate on ROADS. So without the massive subsidies for buses and the much smaller subsidies for ROADS, no one would ride buses because the cost for the actual service is outragiously high, compared to today's fuel effiecnet cars, especially electric cars.

BUSES are unsustainable.

As so too is light rail. It cost far more to move the same volume of people than roads. Roads move far more many people and goods than WAAAY too expensive Light Rail.

Light rail is completely unsustainable. It is a scam. Unless it is used in a high density urban setting and it connects people where they live to where they work, it is not a intelligent form of transit.

That is N-O-T Virginia Beach, we are low density and not centralized.

What's funny is you thinking that road subsidies are less than

the buses. And if the fuel taxes were at a level that actually paid for the road Reid, most people would be on public transit. Already with the higher gas prices, driving in the US is down and transit ridership is up. Furthermore, roads only move more because we've spent years throwing Trillions of dollars at them.

And as I've told you more than once before, you don't need the population density of NY City for light rail to work. VB according to the US Census Bureau has a population density of 1,758.9 people per square mile and zero LRT lines. Salt Lake City has a pop density of 1678.0 people and 4 LRT lines. They also have a commuter train, and are building a Streetcar. So NO, I don't buy that argument.

Wrong again.

Alan B., if the riders of mass transit had to pay for the cost of the service they use, people would drive their own cars and avoid mass transit - because the cost of service is far less for private car owners driving than massively expensive, wasteful, and limited mass transit.

Cars go from point A to point B. Mass transit usually does not. Cars are ready and waiting for our use. Mass transit? Luck of the draw and a LOT of waiting around. Roads and cars run 24/7 365. Mass transit? Hit or miss and subject to relocation, unending fare hikes, route cancellation, and limited hours of operation.

Face it, government bureaucracies such as HRT/TDCHR make service decisions that will STRAND those who are unwise enough to DEPEND on HRT.

Sorry Reid, but I'm not wrong; you are!

Passenger rail used to be privately owned & operated. Roads & highways have always been subsidized. Take away road subsidies and the trains will be cheaper by comparison and able to raise their fares. Again, starting with the 2008 $4.00+ gas prices, driving has gone down in this country because drivers are unwilling to pay the high prices. We would need to at least triple the fuel taxed in order for drivers to cover their costs fully. In nearly every state that means an increase of at least $1.20 per gallon, so just 10 gallons will cost $12 more than right now.

Or we can look at it this way; AAA says that it costs 58.5 cents per mile to drive our cars, before subsidies. Light rail on average only cost 60 cents.

The problem with you premise...

Is that you assume that this is a zero sum idea. In other words, more Light Rail ridership equals less traffic and thus eventually less cost for roads.

Light Rail will simply ADD to the transportation debt with little or no effect on traffic.

The fact that they pad the numbers by giving away exceptionally cheap passes to groups should be a red flag.

If this is meant to be a TOD project, then say so. But, don’t tell me this is a transportation project when all indicators need to be fudged, re-evaluated, adjusted or just plain ignored to show it to be “effective and successful”.

I'd have a lot more respect if HRT and the local city councils would just tell us the truth; just not their warped, twisted, and spun version of the truth.


But as I've already pointed out, LRT can help mitigate congestion. Yes, HRT's 1 line isn't going to do much. But once expanded, much like Portland's LRT and other cities, it will help. And less congestion does mean less cost for the roads. LRT is also much cheaper to operate than the alternative, the bus. That too means less cost for us taxpayers.

Yes, no question that LRT is also about TOD. Anyone telling you otherwise is lying.

As for padding the numbers, we're giving away rides on our highways for far less than they actually cost. Same with our local streets. LRT is simply following the example set by our roads & highways.

City paying?

No, the City of Norfolk is not subsidizing LR through participation in the ridership program. The taxpayers are subsidizing the program. Any contributions from the taxpayers should be considered an expense to LR rather than revenue. In other words its robbing Peter to pay Paul.

My question is where are all

My question is where are all the posters that were lying about all that extra tax revenue that was going to come in? Where are the ones telling the uneducated that "the vote is just to study"? Why hasn't the pilot or anyone for that matter done any research on how many meetings Shucet had with the beach while still on the payroll? When will the "real" cost of that "40 million" land sale be made public and more importantly where all the money actually went? When will the pilot have a staffer ride the tide all day and actually document the empty cars? When will all the other back room deals and money spent already by the beach be revealed

The short answer...


That is because they don't report, they "Cheerlead".


The image shown….

….really makes me want to ride the thing.

Stuffed in with a bunch of other people. No open seats. Someone hacking, coughing and lacking the courtesy to cover their mouths. A few smokers with that wonderful odor about them.

What better way to commute? It certainly beats the privacy, comfort and safety of my SUV.


Note that picture is from the first day LRT ran. It most certainly does not look like that on an average, or even above average, day.

tensbar, I have no idea where Mike is.

And while I've never seen proof of the actual dollars claimed by him and most certainly do wonder about that actual dollar amount; he's certainly not totally wrong either.

People & business do pay more to be next to a rail line. All other things being equal, property within a 5 block walk of a train station always commands a higher price and higher taxes than property further out.

Business especially understands the value of having a fixed rail system to bring in employees and customers. This is why for example, out in Seattle Amazon and 3 other companies joined together to help the City of Seattle expand and provide more frequent service on the Streetcar out there. They put up their own monies to help pay for increased service!

a thought

maybe he's part of that company that want to build the line in VA.BCH. and doesn't want any attention now.--did you notice that no one has any information on how to get in on that investment?--who's involved?--It is a PUBLIC--PRIVATE venture.--or just a private venture with public funds?

--frank in va.bch.


you may well be correct that he's involved; I honestly don't know.

And it will have to be public-private since HRT will be operating the trains.

Momey Pit

Light Rail is an endless ,bottomless money pit. The Norfolk Council knew it when they forced it on the taxpayers. You will never solve 21st century transportation problems with 19th century technology. NEVER !

No wonder our cars aren't solving the problem! Thank you!

You can't solve 21st Century problems with 19th Century technology!

The car was invented in the same century as the train.

Of course today's trains have evolved more than our cars have. Today's trains have more modern technology in them than our cars have. Which is why we are turning to them to solve the problem that cars can't solve.


Thanks for the chuckle this morning!! Or were you serious?

Quite serious.

Cars were invented in the 19th Century.

So, according to the original poster, they can't solve our problems since we can't use 19th Century technology to solve our problems.


Just to be clear, I'm not saying that I believe that idea. In fact, I love my car and I have no intention of giving it up until I can no longer safely drive it.

But if the OP believes that we can't use 19th Century technology to solve our problems, then he's advocating to throw away his car/SUV, since again it is 19th Century technology and therefore under his premise it won't be able to solve the problems of today's world.

Alan B

Well done. You clearly stated you thoughts. Have a Great Day


No one pays for my automobile except me. So if the people who ride and want Light Rail want to pay for it themselves, then have at it. But NOT with other peoples tax dollars.


That's fine, just be sure that you never take your car out of your driveway, as doing so means that you are using other people's money to drive it. You'll have to simply admire your car that you paid for in your driveway.

By the way, I hope that you had it dropped in your driveway by helicopter, because otherwise you used other people's money to get it into your driveway.

If you want people to pay for light rail with no help, then you must pay for your drives with no help. And what you pay for light rail is far less than what you'd have to fork over to fully pay for your drives.


--In their effort to fill up that cho cho,--how much money did they lose in bus fares because of special prices,--which included both?--Is it fair that city workers get special prices and the rest don't?--I can see the students.--but why anyone else?--special prices for special people?

--why aren't all the people special?--some rate and some don't?--who decides?--why?

--just more questions.--or am I just stirring the pot?--Is it doing any good?--Is anyone trying to change anything?--does anyone care?--or is it just a place to vent you frustrations?

A PollyAnna approach to Decision-making....

Admittedly, I have never riden the TIDE, but it is my understanding that there are no turnstiles or ticket collectors to ensure that all passengers have have paid or use a GoPass365.

If that is correct, how does HRT know GoPasses accounted for 334,000 trips or 267,000 trips taken w/ a GoPass in March? How was that data collected?

The fact that there is no way to ensure all passengers pay is the most egregious error in TIDE decision-making. If, for no other reason, there should be no further extension of the TIDE until the collection of fares has been corrected.

By eliminating oversight for purchased tickets, Shucet, et al, were negligent in their duty to taxpayers ensuring that other city services would be short-changed.

HRT makes it up as they go

They figure that ever pass sold was used. No accountability, no factual verification, just make up numbers, tell the pilot, and they will publish.

Normally your complaint is

Normally your complaint is an assumption that every pass used was sold (i.e., paid for). Today you complain of an assumption that every pass sold was used. If a pass was sold, why in heaven would you turn down the revenue on today's complaint? You simply complain to hear yourself talk.

excuse me?

You have no idea what you are talking about. If you follow the article, every pass was sold...ie: paid for.

In order to pad the numbers, HRT is assuming every pass sold was used.

The statement identified number of trip, 334,000, not the number of passes.

Prove there were 334,000 trips takes with the passes sold.

Again, keep up. I complain that HRT is posting fraudulent numbers, and the pilot will publish anything they say without any factual evidence.

He's right. You cry fraud

He's right. You cry fraud based on whichever argument suits you on any given day - even if the arguments are mutually inconsistent.

Give us all a break! I can't

Give us all a break! I can't count the number of times you've been on here ranting about the number of "free" riders.

You Are Correct

I've only ridden it a few times but not one time has anyone bothered to see if I had purchased a pass. Even when there were HRT employees with clipboards doing ridership surveys, not one cared whether I had a pass or not.
That's very strange since even the ferry across the river has a manned ticket station where they take your pass and swipe it for you to make sure you paid. I wonder why they wouldn't do something similar with the train?

Of course, if word spread that nobody was checking passes then more people would show up to ride it for free and then be counted when they do ridership surveys....

I would presume they know

I would presume they know how much they take in on daily fares, though that number is never provided in news stories. They should also have fairly accurate total ridership numbers. So it would be easy to figure out how many are riding for free each day. But I have no idea how they might know if these people have valid passes or are cheating. But it sounds like the difference is $2M per year and they are assuming that no one is cheating. Perhaps the fare system was set up to allow those who can't afford to pay to rid if they are willing to accept a small risk of being caught! ;-)


Ridership is easy, as there are automated people counters above the doors of the LRT cars.

Revenue is more difficult since fares aren't checked 100% of the time. It's based upon sales at machines, ridership patterns, survey's, fare enforcement, and long time formulas that are used by all transit agencies.

automated people counters above the doors

Yep...Sure are....And they count every person that goes in...or out....of the car.

So every rider gets counted twice! Makes HRT's numbers inaccurate, false, and fraudulent.

but you can be sure

If by chance $40k phil builds his train system in VB, you can bet....

1) The fare will not be a buck 50 a ride
2) There will be no cut rate passes for anyone
3) There will be some method to verify ever rider has paid


This is standard practice around the world, that light rail systems work on the honor system. This is not something dreamed up by HRT or any of its exec's. It has long been proven that while theft of service does occur, that cost is far less than the costs for securing the system. Especially since securing the system still doesn't stop theft of service. NYC losses millions a year in fares, despite turnstiles that are intended to stop theft of service.

As for how they know the info for the GoPass, they do random checks & surveys and extrapolate the data from there, before they add it to what happens on the buses to come up with that number.

No Excuse....

If you are including the subway in your NYC analogy, I'm sure that someone somewhere has riden for free...but it is an exception rather than the rule. I've riden the NY subway, the DC Metro, as well as used mass transits, trains, buses, etc in other cities. There is no escaping paying...unless you jump the turnstile or somehow figure out a way to beat the system. There's no figuring out anything w/ the TIDE...it's take your chances; see what happens.

The turnstiles also count ridership. How was the data collected for this report?

If your car has an EZPass, there is an electronic mechanism that records who went through the toll booth & who to charge for the toll. No such electronic counting system exists w/ the TIDE.

Just read....

Just read the comments about people counters above the doors...but my concern is still valid...those people counters do not know who paid, who has a GoPass, or who has not bought a ticket.

Subways, whether BART,

Subways, whether BART, MARTA, NYC, etc are not light rail. My personal experience is that now at least 1/3 of the time a uniformed policeman or private security officer is checking tickets. I don't know about the HRT person tallying users. But if the ticket holder is using a GoPass365 card, the uniformed security folks want to see an ID to match up with the card.


No, it is a big problem in NYC. A recent estimate was that more than 18.5 miliion people jumped the turnstiles or otherwise evaded the fare in the NYC subway in 2009. At $2.25 per ride, the price back then, that's a lot of money down the drain.


LA has just spent more a Billion or two trying to enclose their system, both subways & light rail. And after all of that, they still have fare evasion and about half of their light rail stations simply cannot be locked down.

For LRT, the best solution is enforcement & high fines, as well as jail time for repeats. Anything else costs more than the lost fares.

The MARTA in Atlanta

Try to get on the MARTA in Atlanta without paying. You WILL be arrested, IF you can manage to get past the gates without paying.

Wrong again Reid!

"There's no turnstile to jump with MARTA’s tall fare gates but enterprising lawbreakers have found other ways to beat the system, and MARTA is documenting them."


Ride it end….

….to end for giggles. I did. Watch the employees wander on ‘n off the thing multiple times at Newtown and EVMS or C – whatever. That movement will account for a few hundred ‘rides’ every day.

Not one LR supporter has

Not one LR supporter has even answered to the fact about all the lies they told prior to the vote finally coming to the light? Where is the 900 billion in TOD? Why are the taxes going up and not down in Norfolk? I thought this was just a vote to "continue the study" not build it now?


The number was $900 million, but still the same thing......not realistic.

Charging more for passes,

Charging more for passes, and charging them individually might actually save the local colleges money. For example, many TCC students don't even know that the school has a pass with there name on it.Only half of the Norfolk campus students use public transit(if that).

Those complaining may indeed

Those complaining may indeed find HRT with less revenue from area universities if charges are based on passes actually sold on drastically discounted basis to students.

HRT Light Rail is smoke and mirrors ...

do not extend this money pit to Va Beach!

Hidden Costs

How much HRT staff time was used in selling the GOPasses door-to-door to business, which Ray Amoruso's crew did during 2011?

HRT scam is NOT a "bargain", it is hidden costs

HRT hides the cost of their service by charging from ZERO to 20% of the cost of the service HRT riders use.

It is N-O-T a "bargain. It is a false impression due to unsustainable low fares.

Dollar for dollar, in the per person price, per mile, and taking into account TIME to get from Point A to Point B (Time = money): Cars are superior to HRT's buses and 15 mph average speed for Light Rail to travel from Newtown RD to EVMS.

Remove all subsidies and we discover that our cars and far less expensive than mass transit - and interestingly enough, not only faster, safer, and more convenient, they are better for the environment!

End all the subsidies and let the TRUTH be revealed. HRT is massively expensive and we cannot afford it.

Reid, Just like our roads.

They're a scam too. You & others operate under the false impression that we pay for the roads. We drivers, and yes I'm one of them, don't come close to covering the costs of our roads & highways. A truth that you continue to ignore. And roads & highways are the reason that HRT can't charge enough to cover costs. I'll say it again for you: Passenger rail used to be privately owned & operated. It covered it's costs! That is until Government interfered in the Free Market by subsidizing your driving. That interference in the Free Market is why HRT even exists and why it can't charge enough to ever hope to cover costs.

If you want public transit to cover it's costs, start by making sure that you cover the costs of your driving!

HRT scam is NOT a "bargain", it is hidden costs

HRT hides the cost of their service by charging from ZERO to 20% of the cost of the service HRT riders use.

It is N-O-T a "bargain. It is a false impression due to unsustainable low fares.

Dollar for dollar, in the per person price, per mile, and taking into account TIME to get from Point A to Point B (Time = money): Cars are superior to HRT's buses and 15 mph average speed for Light Rail to travel from Newtown RD to EVMS.

Remove all subsidies and we discover that our cars and far less expensive than mass transit - and interestingly enough, not only faster, safer, and more convenient, they are better for the environment!

End all the subsidies and let the TRUTH be revealed. HRT is massively expensive and we cannot afford it.

They claim it will cost

less for the extention that the first construction. It original cost was $65,000,000 per mile or $12310.00 per foot or $1025.00 per inch. The est cost for the extention is $ 45,000,000, or $8522.00 per mile or $710.00 per inch. How many times has the cost gone up after construction started. A better question is how often are they correct in their initial cost estimates? This gets better and better.


Stop this madness, every one needs to pay to ride!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Several years ago, Seattle got written up by Taxpayers For Common Sense for their expansion of I-405, a project that would add 1 lane in each direction over 30 miles. That project, still ongoing, was estimated at that time to cost $366.6 Million per mile. It will do nothing to help ease congestion. And unlike light rail whose tracks will last 40 to 50 years, that highway will need a very expensive repaving long before that, and major bridge reconstruction long before that.

As for costs going up, if that were a reason to not do something, then we would have stopped building highways after the Granddaddy of going over-budget The Big. I'm not saying we should accept going over, but it is also not a reason to stop light rail.

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