The Tide Turns One
Norfolk celebrates the anniversary of The Tide
One year anniversary of The Tide light rail in Norfolk
It’s not often that a one-year-old birthday celebration would entail a marching band, a speech by the mayor and not just one but many cakes. Then again, it’s not every day that The Tide has its first birthday.
Norfolk State University's Spartan Legion Marching Band performs. PHOTO: Angela Blue
Sunday, August 19 actually marks the one-year anniversary of the light rail’s inaugural expedition, but the City of Norfolk commemorated the occasion Friday morning at MacArthur Square station. People gathered to see a performance from Norfolk State University’s Spartan Legion Marching Band followed by a speech from Mayor Paul Fraim.
Mayor Paul Fraim commends The Tide's success in its first year. PHOTO: Angela Blue
Fraim announced that along with reaching a year mark The Tide has also reached the mark of having its one-millionth rider (1,733,614 to be exact). The light rail averages 5,040 riders a day, up from the projected amount of 2,900 riders a day. Fraim noted other points about The Tide that were cause for celebration, including the safety of boarding and riding, no serious accidents since its launch and how the light rail has helped to spur the economy.
HRT's CEO, William Harrell encourages more people to utilize public transportation. PHOTO: Angela Blue
HRT’s CEO, William Harrell encouraged more people to get on board with public transportation. “80% of us commute to work alone,” he said during his speech. “We need to celebrate the fact that we as a region need to take on this issue of transportation. Let us build on the success of The Tide.” Applause was heard throughout the speeches as people held signs reading, “Virginia Beach Next.”
Cakes decorated with numbers of riders on The Tide during holidays and other days throughout the year. PHOTO: Angela Blue
After the speeches were over, participants enjoyed free rides on The Tide as well as free cake—each decorated with the number of riders on The Tide for particular days—the perfect way to commemorate special birthday Tideings.
Dottie Holtz, member of the Virginia Beach City Public School Board, shows her support of The Tide coming to Virginia Beach as her grandson, Eli, enjoys his piece of cake. PHOTO: Angela Blue