An amazing story from Norfolk, Virginia:
The agency said Thursday that the pilot program will make its last runs on April 14. The last bus will leave the airport at 11 p.m.
The hourly service began Feb. 5 and originally was to run for a month. The agency says it extended the service a month but ridership remained weak.
Hampton Roads Transit president and CEO William Harrell says the airport service was a good idea but it needs some work.
I have no basis for an informed opinion about the Norfolk airport service, but I would never recommend trying any transit service for a month, or even two. Any transit service needs time to find its market. My usual advice is that you shouldn't try an experimental service unless you're prepared to run it for a year, not only so that it can build ridership but also so that you can see how its performance varies with the seasons.
When it comes to larger network redesigns, in which many route changes occur at once, the message for elected officials is even more challenging. Redesigns are simply not reversible. They have to run a full year before you can really assess them fairly, and by then, so many people are used to the new patterns of service that reverting to the old ones would be as disruptive as the intial restructuring was. If an elected official needs to believe that a restructuring can be done "experimentally," I advise them to vote against it. Obviously, a year after a restructuring, you'll tinker with things based on the ridership, and even sooner you may have to do small adjustments to handle running time or overloading problems. You'll make larger improvements after you've run the redesign for a year. But there's no going back to where you were, and in a good redesign, after a year, few people want to.