SUFFOLK, Va. — Bus passengers in Suffolk are calling for better public bus hours.
At a protest outside Suffolk's downtown transfer center, demonstrators held signs and chanted: "Longer hours! New Buses!"
They're part of the group, Virginia Organizing. Members say the current times are just too short and it makes it hard for people who need to get around the city.
"It's hard for a guy to get a job and maintain a job when you can't get to your job," Hakim Muhammad said. "It's virtually impossible. How can you support your family when you can't earn, you can't earn because you can't get to work. And you're living in a city as big as Suffolk? It's unheard of, it's crazy."
Suffolk ends its bus service at 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and there are no scheduled routes on the weekend.
"I had a shift that started at 6 o'clock," Christopher Mitchell said. "So the bus is gone."
Muhammad added: "Even to the factories. They have a lot of factories around here but they're so far out, they're so in the rural areas that guys can't get to work."
Virginia Organizing members gathered at Suffolk's downtown transfer center on Wednesday to ask for a few changes:
- Begin morning hours at 5 a.m. Monday through Saturday
- Extend evening hours to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday
- Provide Sunday hours between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.
- Research and update routes to best suit the people who use the service regularly
- Provide bus shelters throughout Suffolk to protect riders from the weather
- Provide more buses to run every 30 minutes
- Invest in new buses
"I work mostly nights and I get off late so then I'm walking home late at night at 12," Val Mckinney said. "The buses only run every hour and then you have to ride through so many other neighborhoods just to get from point A to point B."
Members say not only does it make it difficult to get to work, but the current schedule also makes it harder for them to run errands around the city.
"When it comes time to take care of my household to purchase goods and things I need, I can't shop bargain, I always have to shop convenience - which hurts my pockets," McKinney said.
The group is also calling on city leaders to add more bus shelters around the city and to add more routes and newer buses.
"The residents of Corey Park are mostly senior citizens and disabled," said Elaine Carrall, a Virginia Organizing member and resident of Corey Park. "We are forced to walk a long distance to the bus stop. In the past, the Suffolk buses have come into Corey Park to pick up riders. Now they don't. This restricts the mobility of many of the people who live in Corey Park."
Click here to a list of Suffolk bus routes and schedules.