New HRT Tide numbers show growth in ridership

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NORFOLK, Va. – New numbers from Hampton Roads Transit show an increase in Tide ridership in Norfolk.

After several years of decline, most of the month-to-month totals for this year are up over 2016.

HRT provided 13News Now with average weekday ridership numbers in 2016 and 2017. We took those numbers and calculated average monthly ridership totals.

Data showed that 51,000 more people rode the Tide in the first 10 months of this year, compared to the first 10 months of last year. 

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“All of the action downtown is contributing to that. Also employment plays an important role, so does the weather,” HRT President William Harrell said.

The increase starts to take a big jump in the months of April and May when the Main and Waterside District opened. In 2017, 3,000 more people rode the Tide in April compared to April of 2016.

In May, almost 8,000 more riders took the Tide compared to last year.

“We're so excited to have the Main and Waterside District here. We kind of look at it like a catalyst,” Downtown Norfolk Council Marketing Director Jessica Kliner said.

Harrell said the numbers will only continue to increase especially if the Tide extends to Naval Station Norfolk. 

Right now, HRT is looking at two routes for the proposed extension. 

“The Tide is currently a starter line, but as we start to look at other destinations such as Naval Station Norfolk, eventually it will expand all across this region and you'll see ridership grow,” Harrell said.

“We're proud that we're so walkable and we're glad that people are taking advantage of public transportation,” Kliner said.