After six months, ridership on Norfolk's new light rail system is 60 percent higher than expected — prompting some doubters to change their outlook.
According to The Virginian-Pilot:
Norfolk's 7.4-mile starter light-rail line, which launched six months ago Sunday, has drawn an average of 4,642 riders on weekdays, 4,850 on Saturdays and 2,099 on Sundays, when trains run fewer hours. About 2,900 weekday riders had been forecast.
Since it opened on Aug. 19, nearly 750,000 trips have been taken on The Tide.
Hampton Roads Transit President and CEO Philip Shucet predicts that The Tide will hit its 20-year projection of 7,200 daily rides within three years.
The newspaper quotes local residents on their reactions to the service:
Ken Scott was skeptical when light rail was being planned and built. As a Norfolk citizen, he worried about the impact on taxpayers. As a resident of a neighborhood adjacent to the rail line, he was frustrated by construction and detours getting to his home.
"I take that all back now," said Scott, who is retired from heading the Norfolk airport and regularly takes light rail for meetings downtown, to meet friends for lunch, and for medical appointments. "It's a great service."
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