Chesapeake, Virginia is among the largest cities in the US. With so much land to cover, public transportation is important. However, is there public transportation in Chesapeake, Virginia?
There is public transportation in Chesapeake, Virginia. Chesapeake residents can travel via bus, rail, and ferry through Hampton Roads Transit, Greyhound bus systems, and the Amtrack train. The city also has several biking trails that run throughout it.
In spite of a large population and vast land expanse, Chesapeake’s public transit could use a boost. Learn more about what is available and where Chesapeake can improve the public transportation offered to its citizens below.
Hampton Roads Transit (HRT)
Chesapeake, Virginia is limited in its public transportation, but there are some nearby sources of transit that citizens can access. One of these is the Hampton Roads Transit, or the HRT, which offers a bus system, light rail, and ferry that generally covers the area around Chesapeake. This includes connections to cities such as Norfolk, Hampton, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach.
First, the bus system here has 10 routes that mainly go around the Chesapeake and Norfolk area. Most routes offer daily service, with buses that generally run every 30 minutes. With early morning options for travel and consistent routes throughout the day, this system can be helpful for anyone needing to use public transit, whether commuting to work or just traveling somewhere for a day.
Second, this transit system offers a Light Rail that features one route across Norfolk. While it doesn’t go directly to Chesapeake, the rail could be useful for those who wish to drive partway somewhere, and then take the light rail the rest of the way. This may be good for saving on gas or avoiding traffic at certain times of the day. The route travels from east to west from a station just east of the Hampton Roads Beltway to a station near the Eastern Virginia Medical Center.
Lastly, Chesapeake residents can access a ferry through HRT that crosses the Elizabeth River. It travels in a triangular route of three stops, which cover two landing spots in Portsmouth, Virginia, and a port on the opposite side in Norfolk.
Amtrack, while also not based in Chesapeake, Virginia, is a train that runs across the entirety of the United States. The nearest station for Chesapeake residents is located in Norfolk, Virginia.
Amtrack is helpful because of its vast expanse of rails and is an affordable public transportation option whether you are traveling locally or long distances. Knowing some basic information about using Amtrack can help Chesapeake residents know if this train is a useful transit option for them.
Firstly, it’s important to know that Amtrack rides are best scheduled ahead of time. Tickets need to be bought in advance, and the earlier they are purchased, the better, so that riders don’t miss out on important trips just because the train was full and they didn’t prepare ahead of time.
Amtrack stations offer several conveniences to provide riders with the most comfortable experience. Upon arrival, riders can receive assistance for any baggage that they have so it can be stored properly. Additionally, kiosks are available at large Amtrack stations where people can buy tickets, make reservations for future destinations, and check in on existing reservations. Wi-Fi is also available on Amtrack trains so people can work or simply relax while browsing the internet without having to spend a lot of money or use data.
Amtrack also provides special options onboard that are available to all passengers and may be especially useful for those who are on longer rides. Quiet cars are available at no extra cost. Here, there is no typing, loud music, or phone calls allowed, creating the most relaxing environment possible.
Onboard dining is also a great perk of riding Amtrack. From meal to snack needs, this train system has plenty of options to satisfy any cravings while its passengers are on board.
These are only a few of the perks of riding Amtrack. Public transportation is helpful because it allows anyone with any travel needs to get somewhere, but great service comes with options that allow everyone to feel comfortable and enjoy their trip, however long it may be.
Greyhound, like Amtrack, has buses and stations that go all around the US. For Chesapeake residents, the nearest station is located in Norfolk. Compared with online resources for other types of transit, Greyhound isn’t the most user-friendly or easy-to-understand public transportation option, but it can still be useful for those who may be interested in using it.
Firstly, Greyhound buses are just as enjoyable as any train. They offer free Wi-Fi on board, charging stations, reclining seats with plenty of legroom, and even onboard restrooms! These buses are quite comfortable compared to the general public transit bus that many people think of when thinking about public transportation.
For those who may be traveling with a bit of extra luggage, these buses have plenty of space for storing customers’ items. Under the bus, storage is available for up to three pieces of baggage, and overhead storage is available for one carry-on item. So, there is no need for you to worry about how to travel a little further if your hands are full, as these buses have all the space you need!
Air conditioning is also a feature inside the bus, which is great to have on a hot summer day. Stuffy buses don’t make for the most comfortable rides.
Seating options are also flexible, as there is wheelchair seating for up to two riders using a wheelchair or mobility scooter. For riders throughout the rest of the bus, there are no assigned seats, so people can pick what seating option is most comfortable for them based on what is available.
Lastly, along with the charging stations found next to seats, each seat is equipped with a seatbelt, which is a safety feature that is not always found on public transportation. Not only do Greyhound buses offer a comfortable ride, but they are safe as well.
Biking and Walking
Biking and walking are limited in Chesapeake, Virginia. With a walk score of 21 and a biking score of 35, this is mainly a car-dependent city, which is something that anyone who is considering moving to the area should consider.
Starting out with biking, Chesapeake isn’t totally absent of places for people to ride their bikes safely. Much of the biking in the Chesapeake Bay area takes the form of a nature trail. Virginia’s Department of Transportation encourages the use of these trails through an informative online packet that details various trails and key scenic points that can be found along the way. Encouraging citizens to get outdoors is a great way to help people better use public transportation and find connections around their area and beyond.
However, while nature trails may be a great way for bikers to get around, their existence shouldn’t negate the need for road shoulders, where bikers can share the road with cars. In terms of public transportation and having the ability to safely bike to work, school, stores, or anywhere else, nature trails certainly aren’t the most ideal option for those who prefer to get around without the help of a car. Virginia’s DOT has a statewide plan for incorporating travel options for bikers, but the city of Chesapeake still has a long way to go.
Much of the same comments could be made about the low walkability of Chesapeake. With little public transit to connect areas around the city and few safe bike lanes, there really aren’t walkable options for getting around town here. Car-dependent cities tend to suffer from more traffic and pollution. Additionally, connecting with local aspects of the city can be more difficult, when car travel encourages riding past everything without taking the time to notice local art, food, shops, and parks.
Importance of Public Transit
While it’s great that Chesapeake residents have access to all the transit options shown above, the city is still lacking in any consistently helpful public transit. In a city with a large population that covers 352 square miles, public transportation is essential to making sure that everyone has access to affordable travel that allows them to run errands and get to work in a timely manner.
Many residents of Chesapeake, Virginia are frustrated with the lack of public transportation because they are forced to purchase and maintain a vehicle, which can be very expensive. If Chesapeake wants to draw more people into the city and make residents happier, the city needs to put a lot of work into improving its public transportation system.
Because so many Chesapeake residents have to purchase a car, there is a lot of traffic in the area and surrounding areas, especially during rush hour.
Overall, there is public transportation available in Chesapeake, Virginia, but because of how limited it is, most residents choose not to use it unless they absolutely have to. This is especially the case because most public transportation options are based outside of Chesapeake in nearby cities.