HRT and Naval Station Norfolk Celebrate One Year Anniversary of Base Express
Hampton Roads Transit is celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Base Express. On December 4, 2023, public transportation returned to Naval Station Norfolk for the first time in decades.
Two routes connect service members and their families, veterans, government employees, and contractors, with major destinations in and around the base. The Gold Route operates seven days a week, providing last-mile service from outside the gate, starting at the Navy Exchange. The Blue Route operates exclusively on base providing weekday service to stops along Virginia Avenue and the piers.
Ridership on the Base Express routes has grown exponentially. We started with around 1,100 riders in December 2022. In October, we recorded more than 4,100 riders. That’s an increase of 266% in the first 11 months. We’re glad to see so many service members are taking advantage of this free service each month.
Base leadership told us at the time that sailors were desperate for this service. It was viewed as “critical” to fill a “significant gap” – a sentiment that was echoed in conversations we recently had with several sailors who utilize the service.
Neither Richard McMenamin nor Melany Lahm owns a car. They are among the thousands of sailors living and working at Naval Station Norfolk who rely on public transportation. McMenamin told HRT he rides the Base Express to get back and forth from his barracks to the commissary. Lahm said she rides almost every day to get to work at the pier and to connect with HRT’s other services.
“Since the opening of the Base Express last December, the service it provides has drastically improved the quality of life for those living and working onboard Naval Station Norfolk,” says Capt. Janet Days, Naval Station Norfolk Commanding Officer. “We are thankful and look forward to growing this awesome service for years to come.”
The Base Express is currently funded by a Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) Transit Ridership Incentive Program (TRIP) grant. HRT is proud to provide this service to the world’s largest Navy base. We look forward to continuing this FREE service in partnership with Academy Express, LLC., and to a successful second year.