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HRT to scale back bus, light rail services due to COVID-19 impacts

The pandemic has forced the transit service to cut back operations due to staffing shortages. HRT is short 59 drivers and there are about 100 absences a day.

NORFOLK, Va. — The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing Hampton Roads Transit to make some operational changes to its bus and light rail services due to staffing shortages.

Starting Sunday, May 9, HRT's normal bus services will run on a scaled-down operation.

The Service Reliability Plan will be in place until at least July 1, with bus frequencies ranging from 30 to 60 minutes on most routes. Major employment centers throughout the region will continue to be served.

The Tide light rail trains will run a 15-minute service frequency Monday through Saturday until 9:30 p.m. Then, the trains will run on a 30-minute frequency. The Sunday schedule won't change for the buses or light rail. There's also no operational change for the Elizabeth River Ferry.

According to a news release, the changes are happening due to personnel issues. Currently, the transit service is down 59 bus drivers and there are about 100 absences a day due to the pandemic. 

Officials noted that 102 HRT employees have come down with COVID-19 since the start of the crisis. About 33% of HRT employees have been vaccinated so far.

Normal bus operations need about 479 operators. The revised operations require about 327 bus operators.

For more info on HRT job opportunities, click here.