Tanya Canty

A few years back, I was in a car accident. Although no one was seriously injured (I blacked out), the accident left me so severely ‘shook’, that I no longer wanted to drive.

I knew I had to get to work, to the grocery store, the bank, to the salon, the laundry-mat, the bingo hall, to school, etc. I also knew that I was too afraid to get behind the wheel of another vehicle. I have no family in the area, so having a family member take me to and fro was impossible. I refused to ask co-workers because I don’t care how many times someone will say, ‘you know I don’t mind’…, you begin to feel like a burden. Taxicabs were far too expensive. So what did I do? I Google searched Hampton Roads Bus Schedule which led me to the website for Hampton Roads Transit.

I clicked on the ‘Contact’ section and called the number listed. 757-222-6100. When the representative picked up the line, I told her where I lived and where I was trying to go. She provided me with the routes and the schedule for the Number 11.

Before long, you couldn’t tell me a thing! I got so good, I was catching the #11 to work, the #2 to the Bank, the #8 to the hair salon, the Ferry to Portsmouth, the #6 to the #15 to school, and depending on which bingo hall I wanted to go – the #3 or the #20. Heck, I even learned that the bus would take me to the Commissary (#2 or #3) for my groceries.

I laughed out loud when my teenage son told me that when his friends joked him about riding the bus, his response – ‘you’re riding on 22s, but I’m riding on 54s!’ I have no idea what a bus tire size is – but it was funny nonetheless.

When my job moved from downtown Norfolk to a location off Robin Hood Road, that meant I had to catch the number 1 on Granby Street which took me to Wards Corner. From Wards Corner I would catch the #15 to work. For those of you that ride the number 15 during peak hours you know it’s a priority route which makes it overcrowded. For those of you that have yet to experience the 15 – just know that you can be sitting (or standing) so close to someone that you can smell how fresh they are (or not).

I rode Hampton Roads Transit for close to 4 years. I’ve missed the bus, I’ve ran to catch the bus, I’ve had bus drivers wait for me – because you form such a bond – that the driver knows you should be at a particular location. The drivers are professional and courteous. Yes, they get frustrated from time to time, its human nature, but I can tell you that every time I boarded the bus, I was always greeted. If I had a question – it was always answered to my satisfaction. I will never forget when the Nor’easter hit South Hampton Roads in 2009. We were pounded with rain. I was still working downtown Norfolk at that time and you know how that area floods. Not only was HRT operating, but the bus driver took me to the doorsteps of my workplace. That is customer service at its finest.

I don’t think people stop to realize the importance HRT has on our quality of life. HRT is affordable and reliable. People from all economic backgrounds rely on our public transportation system. HRT commutes us everywhere – be it medical, personal, professional or social. HRT is crucial for our economy and community. HRT reduces traffic congestion – I would venture to guess a full bus takes about 35-40 vehicles off the road.

Although I no longer ride the bus (finally purchased another vehicle), I was more relaxed when riding HRT. Now that I’m driving, it can be quite frustrating. I still ride the Tide with my grandchildren and I still take the Ferry to Portsmouth. For Parents/Grandparents: Taking the Ferry to Portsmouth puts you in walking distance to the Children’s Museum!

The community grows where HRT goes!

Tanya Canty
Norfolk, Virginia