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Discussion Title New Silver Line Bus Service: Part Two

Our first chat was so successful that we were unable to answer all of your questions, so we're setting a second date! Join Nick Perfili, Fairfax Connector operations and planning manager, Friday, July 25 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. to discuss Fairfax Connector's upcoming Silver Line service. Ask questions about bus route and schedule changes; park and ride options; and other topics related to the Silver Line.


Nicholas Perfili : Good afternoon and thank you for joining me for today's Ask Fairfax! discussion.  Tomorrow marks the largest service changes in the history of Fairfax Connector with the start of Silver Line service.  40 percent of Fairfax Connector bus service is changing to connect to Metrorail-- we are implementing 16 new routes and modifying 28 of our existing routes.

Passengers in the Herndon, Reston, and Tysons areas are seeing the largest changes as routes that today serve West Falls Church on the Orange Line will change tomorrow to serve Wiehle, Spring Hill, Greensboro, Tysons Corner, or McLean stations on the Silver Line.  I hope everyone is prepared for this change and want to note that Fairfax Connector's service change information is on our website, fairfaxconnector.com.  Silver Line information is online at silverlinemetro.com.

Before I get start responding to your questions, I want to remind everyone that Fairfax Connector will be operating two bus shuttle routes to connect passengers in the Herndon, Reston, and Tysons areas to the Orange Line until Silver Line trains start operating tomorrow.

WIEHLE - WEST FALLS CHURCH: Shuttle buses will operate non-stop between West Falls Church and the new Wiehle station.  The first shuttle buses will depart Wiehle for West Falls Church at 7:20 and 7:40 a.m. to connect with the first Route 505 and Route 950 bus arrivals at Wiehle.  The first shuttle bus will depart West Falls Church for Wiehle at 7:45 a.m. to transport passengers from the Orange Line to Wiehle to connect with Reston and Herndon buses.  The last shuttle bus from West Falls Church to Wiehle is scheduled to depart at 12:40 p.m.

TYSONS AREA - WEST FALLS CHURCH: Shuttle buses will operate between West Falls Church and the McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro, and Spring Hill stations, with stops at each station.  The first shuttle bus will depart Spring Hill Station for West Falls Church at 6:35 a.m. to connect with the first Route 574 bus arriving at Spring Hill.  The first shuttle bus will depart West Falls Church to McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro, and Spring Hill stations at 7 a.m. to transport passengers from the Orange Line to the Tysons area.  Buses will operate approximately every 20 minutes.  The last shuttle bus from West Falls Church to the Tysons area is scheduled to depart at 1:10 p.m.

Note that the two special shuttle bus routes will operate Saturday, July 26 only.  Shuttle schedule information is online at http://silverlinemetro.com/fairfax-connector-shuttle-service-on-july-26/.

I'll now start with our first question.


Falls Church : Will the Dulles airport buses still depart from West Falls Church Metro station or will they be relocated to originate from another station?

Nicholas Perfili : Hello Falls Church.  Buses to Dulles Airport will serve the new Wiehle-Reston East station in Reston.  Fairfax Connector routes 981 and 983 and the Washington Flyer's Silver Line Express service will operate seven days a week.  In addition, Fairfax Connector Route 983 will serve a bus stop at the National Air & Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly. 


Anonymous User : Where are the actual stops for the new 422, 423, and 424 routes? Is there somewhere online that this information is posted?

Nicholas Perfili : Except for express service, Fairfax Connector buses serve all bus stops along their routes.  For the three Tysons routes, 422, 423, and 424, buses will serve all stops along the route.


505 bus : Hi. I have to get to work on Saturday. The route 505 will not only take me to Wiehle-Reston. How can I get to Metro before Silverline trains start later tomorrow? Will I have to take a taxi?

Nicholas Perfili : We will get you to work!  For tomorrow (July 26) only, we are operating special shuttle buses to connect the county's five new Silver Line stations to West Falls Church and Orange Line service until Silver Line service opens to the public at 12 noon.  When your 505 bus arrives at Wiehle, simply transfer to a shuttle bus to connect to West Falls Church.


Anonymous User : What are the plans for the Sunset Hills parking lot that's being closed? If Wiehle fills up would you reopen it

Nicholas Perfili : The Sunset Hills interim  park and ride lot closes tonight at midnight.  Starting tomorrow, commuter will need to use other park and rides in the Reston and Herndon areas, including the new underground parking facility on the north side of the Wiehle Metro station (accessible from Reston Station Blvd), Herndon-Monroe, Reston South, and Baron Cameron Park.  Herndon-Monroe, Reston South, and Baron Cameron Park will remain free park and rides.  Parking at Wiehle is $4.85/day with payment by SmarTrip and major credit and debit cards -- similar to other existing Metro parking garages.  The Wiehle Park and Ride includes 2,300 spaces. 


DC resident : How can I get to the opening ceremony on transit? I can only take the Silver Line home, after all.

Nicholas Perfili : Hi DC resident.  I hope you will ride Fairfax Connector to the opening ceremony!  The public is invited to Wiehle just before 12 noon to board Silver Line trains to Tysons, Falls Church, Arlington, DC, and Maryland.  The Connector will be operating special shuttle routes to and from West Falls Church (north side) to connect passengers.

For tomorrow's shuttle information visit http://silverlinemetro.com/fairfax-connector-shuttle-service-on-july-26/.


Scott : I work in Plaza America. They are providing a shuttle to encourage metro ridership through the silver line. Where is the silver line allowing for shuttle pickup and drop off?

Nicholas Perfili : Bus bays at Metro stations are open to authorized buses only.  Some Metro station kiss and ride lots include spaces for shuttle boarding and unloading.  For station information, visit wmata.com.


Free park and ride : Will parking be free at Wiehle? Will that lot fill up?

Nicholas Perfili : Parking at Wiehle will require payment on weekdays.  The daily charge will be $4.85 payable by SmarTrip, credit, and debit cards upon exiting the garage.  The park and ride at Wiehle will be free on weekends and major federal holidays.

For information about free park and ride lots, visit the Fairfax Connector website, fairfaxconnector.com. 


Anonymous User : During the last session, you mentioned that a map of the wiehle reston east station garage was being planned. Has that occurred yet? It would be nice to have an idea of what levels have which amenities the first day I ride it. For instance, location of elevators/escalators, what level the walkway is on, how many exit lanes, etc. Thanks!

Nicholas Perfili : We are still working on our park and ride guide.  For the first several days, staff ambassadors will be on hand to help direct park and ride patrons at Wiehle.  Here are some details:
Level P1: The pedestrian plaza level.  This level connects to the Metro station.
Level G2: Buses, Connector Store, and kiss & ride.
Level G3: The main entrance leads to this level.  Includes some specialty spaces for carpoolers and low-emission vehicles along with general parking.
Level G4: Includes reserved monthly parking spaces and general parking.
Levels G5, G6, G7: General parking.


Anonymous User : can you please clarify routes for 493/494/495? your map says they all service franconia springfield but the individual schedule only says 494 does

Nicholas Perfili : For our Capital Beltway Express Lanes routes, only the 494 will serve Franconia-Springfield Station to and from Tysons.  Route 493 will provide service between Lorton VRE, Saratoga, and Tysons.  Route 495 will provide service between Burke Centre VRE and Tysons via Braddock Road.


Anne : Will parking at Wiehle-Reston East parking garage be free on weekends and federal holidays? We have seen on WMATA's website (http://www.wmata.com/rail/parking/parking_detail.cfm?station=115) that "Parking is free at Metro-operated lots on weekends and federal holidays," and we see at Fairfax County's website (http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news/2014/wiehle-reston-east-ceremony-open-house-july-19.htm) that "The county owns the commuter garage, and Metro will collect parking fees. The same as other Metro garages in the county, the fees are: $4.85 per day." Is this a case of "we're the same, except when we're different?" Thanks.

Nicholas Perfili : Hi, Anne.  My apologies for the confusion.  Parking at the county's new Wiehle Park & Ride will be free on weekends and federal holidays.  Wiehle is a unique facility-- the garage is owned and maintained by Fairfax County while Metro will operate the parking fee collection system.  You will be able to pay for parking with major credit or debit cards and SmarTrip.


Jay from Herndon : I would really like to see a direct bus connection from the Herndon/Monroe Park and Ride. I neither work nor shop at Tysons. I'm sure there are others from this area, such as myself,who are in this category and would rather bypass Tysons and take the direct route to West Falls Church to catch the Orange Line for either work or visits to downtown, or both. Thank you

Nicholas Perfili : Jay- Fairfax Connector bus service in the Herndon and Reston areas was restructured to serve the nearest Metrorail station.  Wiehle in the case of Herndon-Monroe.  Fairfax Connector service is changing from serving one Metro station in the Dulles Corridor (West Falls Church) to five new Metro stations in the Dulles Corridor (McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro, Spring Hill, and Wiehle). 


Late Night Service : WMATA's website shows the last outbound train from Spring Hill leaving at 12:40 a.m., so I imagine it gets to Wiehle around 12:48. Is there any chance of getting one additional 950 departure to coincide with that last train of the night?

Nicholas Perfili : Thanks for your feedback.  We will be monitoring ridership and evaluating passenger requests related to our Silver Line service changes.  Additional Route 950 trips can be considered to connect with Silver Line.  Specific route comments or service requests can submitted via our online comment form at fairfaxconnector.com.  Thanks for riding the Fairfax Connector!


Fairfax Resident : Happy birthday Silver Line! I'm looking for the details of opening events/ceremonies, but the only information I found was what you wrote in this chat. Could you tell me where I can get the details or tell me more information about them? Thanks!

Nicholas Perfili : Thanks for the Silver Line birthday wish!  For information specific to Silver Line, visit silverlinemetro.com.  The first train is scheduled to depart Wiehle Station at 12 noon.


Reston Rider : I'll need to ride Metrorail during gaps in Connector service, and before and after bus service starts and stops for the day. Where will the taxi line be at Wiehle Station?

Nicholas Perfili : Good afternoon, Reston Rider.  The taxi lane at Wiehle is at the kiss and ride on the north side of the Metro station, Level G2.


Lori Ann : Good morning. I am asking about the new 551 route. Why does that bus only come every half hour in one direction but every 15 minutes in the other direction? I was happy to have the added buses but can't understand why you only have them in one direction. Thank you.

Nicholas Perfili : The Route 551 schedule is unique in that the route in the westbound direction (from Wiehle to Herndon-Monroe via South Lakes Drive and Colts Neck Road) is also served by RIBS 2 buses.  You will be able to ride either a 551 or RIBS 2 bus from Wiehle and both bus routes serve the same stop at the Metro station.


Tysons : The question keeps getting asked and the answers are missing: On Saturday... where on Westpark Drive do I stand to catch a 423,424 bus... There's no signage last we checked! I think we joked in our community about jumping in front of the bus to get it to stop for us since the stops aren't marked.

Nicholas Perfili : Bus stops were installed along Westpark Drive this week.  We still have one set of stops to go, near Park Run.  Route 423 and 424 buses will serve all bus stops along their route.  In addition, Route 423 buses will make stops at the Tysons Corner and Spring Hill stations and Route 424 buses will make a stop at Spring Hill Station.


JCY : Please explain what type of bus service IS, or WILL BE available, along Rte 7, west of the toll road. There are a lot of potential riders along this route, and the car traffic is heavy... might be reduced if there were buses?

Nicholas Perfili : Hi JCY.  Fairfax Connector Route 574 serves Leesburg Pike between Tyco Road in Tysons and Baron Cameron Avenue in Reston.  574 buses operate seven days and starting tomorrow will see more frequent service.  Visit fairfaxconnector.com for Route 574 information.


Anonymous User : Any taxi lanes at any of the Tysons stations? Which ones? Particularly during off peak periods when bus service is less frequent and need to get somewhere in a hurry.

Nicholas Perfili : In the Tysons area, taxi lanes are available the McLean and Spring Hill stations in the kiss and ride lots. 


Vienna Metro : Have there been any studies/predictions as to how the silver line will impact usage of the orange line. In other words - will I still be able to get a seat on the early edge of the morning rush, or will the trains be overcrowded (due to fewer orange trains per hour).

Nicholas Perfili : Hello fellow Vienna Metro commuter!  Visit Metro's planning website, planitmetro.com, for studies and planning documents related to Metrorail.  It is anticipated that some Orange Line commuters will change to become Silver Line commuters starting next week.  Note that most all Fairfax Connector passengers who now transfer to Orange Line trains at West Falls Church will be now be on Silver Line trains since Fairfax Connector bus service in the Dulles Corridor is being modified to serve the new Silver Line stations. 


Anonymous User : Is there GTFS data for the new routes yet?

Nicholas Perfili : I spoke with our IT staff today.  The new GTFS data should be on our website later today or tomorrow. 


Nicholas Perfili : Thanks to all who participated today.  Remember, for Fairfax Connector service information, visit fairfaxconnector.com.  For Silver Line information, visit silverlinemetro.com.

See you on the Silver Line!

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