The Tide is AWESOME!
Oh my gosh, did I just say that? Me, who was pretty skeptical of the whole light rail thing?
Let me look... yes I did.
I succumbed because I wanted to pay a visit to my favorite almost-17-year-old boy,
who just happens to have gotten himself sick & landed in the hospital.
(I've written about him numerous times. Just search "Brandon" and the screen will fill up.)
He is in Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters,
part of the medical complex that is the end of the line for the Tide.
The stop near St. Mary's is at the other end, and parking is plentiful and FREE.
"Self," I said, "let's just give this thing a try and see if it was worth all the delays,
budget overruns & controversy"
So, I drove all of three blocks to the FREE parking lot (did I say that parking is free?)
and bought myself a ticket.
I figure that for the $3 I spent on the ticket, which would have let me ride the Tide all day,
saving on gas, wear & tear on my engine/oil/tires, parking at the hospital
(which is NOT free, except for parents of the kiddies that are there),
and the aggravation of rush hour traffic getting out of the city, I was ahead of the game.
It might not be as fast as driving, but the difference was not worth worrying about.
Yes, it has stops along the way, but it doesn't stay at any of them any longer than
I would have sat at any of the numerous stop lights there & back.
Here's the deal. It is pretty much convenient to everything downtown.
It either puts you off by the door of, or within a little bitty walk of,
the Norfolk city offices,
the Norva & the Roper,
all the funky restaurants on Granby,
the YMCA & surrounding buildings,
and the medical complex at the end of the line.
And it was FUN! And relaxing, not having to drive.
The trains are clean, quiet, and go at a pretty good clip along the highway.
They run often, so there isn't much of a wait.
This is the second time I have posted something good about Hampton Roads Transit.
Long ago, I wrote about how good the Handi-Ride service has been for us (and our parents)
to take our kids out into the community.
Now the Tide. They should pay me.
Now, if they would only extend it to, say, to ODU, the Navy base, the Zoo,
that would be even more awesome.
And, Virginia Beach?
Get with the program.
Run it to Town Center, Princess Anne Plaza, Lynnhaven Mall, Hilltop, the oceanfront.
Can you imagine the ridership it would have, especially in the summer, if it went to the beach?
Really, that's what keeps a lot of locals away in the summer -
trying to park may actually make your brains explode.
But, here's what I don't understand.
I bought a ticket. I boarded the train.
No one asked for my ticket. Nowhere was there a machine to insert my ticket.
The young lady sitting by me said that they will do random ticket checks.
If you don't have one, it is a $250 fine.
Still, it seems risky. There are a lot of dishonest people who would take that chance.
Friday is my brother's birthday, and he will celebrate, as he always does,
with a gathering of his friends at the Monastery downtown.
Parking will be a nightmare on Friday night, so, I'm thinkin', maybe.....
RIDE THE TIDE!
It will only be a walk of a block or 2 from the Monticello stop to the restaurant.
Of course, I am taking the liberty of speaking for M&M, but he'll go along.
Oh, I almost forgot the best part. When you insert money to buy a ticket,
it gives you change in dollar coins!
I LOVE dollar coins!
There are a few missing though. Some of them got Brandon a happy get well balloon and
tipped the nice people at the local non-chain pizzeria.
The rest went to our coin jar. Makes us feel rich :-)