ACTION AREA #4
EXPLORE NEW BUSINESS MODELS FOR PUBLIC TRANSIT OBJECTIVES
The business model for transit in Hampton Roads has not changed in over 20 years. Funding and decision-making for transit are somewhat fragmented. As previously noted, compared to peer regions there is overall underinvestment in transit in Hampton Roads – HRT receives 22 percent less funding on a per capita basis.
Most other mid-size regions pay for transit using dedicated regional taxes. This allows for long-term planning and supports decision-making aimed at meeting regional needs for transit operations and capital investment. No such system exists in Hampton Roads. Instead, each jurisdiction that is a member of HRT pays for its own transit on an annual basis. HRT’s overall service pattern is the sum of these six parts. For transit commuters, this creates problems. There is a disjointed experience, with robust service in some places and minimal service in others. Reliable vehicles and attractive customer amenities are lacking.
The Regional Advisory Panel urges policy makers at all levels of government to explore new business models for regional transit and to make new transit funding a top priority, especially to support the operation of Regional Backbone services.