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More turn to trains and e-scooters as gas prices remain high

Light rail rides are up in April compared to March. Officials say high gas prices might have something to do with it.

NORFOLK, Va. — Riders on the light rail may have noticed the Hampton Roads Transit Tide is coming in with more people onboard.

Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) officials said they're seeing more riders likely because of the high cost of fuel.

Across Hampton Roads, fuel prices are holding steady at just under $5 for a gallon of regular gas. Norfolk resident Sheri Carrigan said she’s spending around $40 on each trip to the gas station, but that’s not even enough to fill up her tank.

“They’re through the roof!" Carrigan joked. “I'm only putting in what I need and then just staying off the road, really... I’m just getting little bits here and there, maybe $30, $40 at a time and that’s not filling it up.”

It seems a lot more people are staying off the road.

The latest figures from HRT show an increase in the number of light rail riders since the beginning of the year. The Tide clocked 8,000 more rides in April than in March. 

HRT’s Chief Communications Officer Alexis Majied said that jump is likely because of rising fuel costs. 

"The cost to ride Hampton Roads transit cost way less than the cost of one gallon of gas, so we expect that riders are going to be looking at that and making smarter decisions," she said.

HRT bus ridership is down in April, compared to March. But Majied said officials expect to see bus ridership rise as fuel prices climb.

“With gas prices increasing the way they are, we are expecting to see increased ridership on our bus service as well," she said.

But that’s not the only way Norfolk residents are trying to beat the prices at the pump.

Keenan moved to Norfolk from across the country a few months ago. He said he relies on e-scooters to avoid high prices at the pump and rush hour traffic.

“Gas prices are definitely a factor," Keenan said. “I try to minimize the amount of driving I do in the city here… I love these scooters, they’re not only a good means of transportation, but they’re a fun way to get around.”  

Lime recently upgraded its scooters to a more "environmentally friendly" version. A Lime e-scooter spokesperson said, "Around the world, we're seeing people turn [to] our e-scooters and e-bikes as gas prices rise and that is true here in Norfolk...”

HRT leaders report ferry ridership is up as well.

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