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Discussion Title Fairfax Connector

Fairfax Connector staff answered your questions about service, upcoming closures, future plans and more.


Nicholas Perfili :

Good morning to all participating in this edition of Ask Fairfax!  My name is Nick Perfili and I am the Customer Service Manager for the Fairfax Connector, working with our Operations and Planning teams.  Joining me is Ellen Kamilakis, who is our Public Information Officer.  Before I get to your questions I want to review some general information:

 

For all transit riders in the Washington region, Metro's online Trip Planner, available at www.wmata.com, provides personalized trip planning information.  Fairfax Connector information is available from Metro's online Trip Planner (as is information from other local transit providers, such as ART, DASH and RideOn).  One neat feature of the Trip Planner is being able to see what service is available near an address.

 

For our Reston area passengers, one of the largest changes to your service occurs next week with the closing of the Reston East Park and Ride at Wiehle Avenue. We have a comprehensive website dedicated to Reston East with closure information available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/connector/news/dullesrail/restoneast.htm. View this website for information on bus service available throughout many Reston neighborhoods including routes 505, 551, 552, 553, 554, and 557 and for alternate park and ride information.

 

Fairfax Connector is growing its online presence. We recently launched our Facebook and Twitter pages. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fairfaxconnector and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ffxconnector.

 

Finally, in December 2009 the County finalized its Transit Development Plan (TDP) which outlines plans for the expansion and enhancement of bus service operated in the County. The TDP can be viewed online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/tdp.htm. The TDP, especially Chapter 7, will provide information for those of you asking about future bus service.

 

With that I will start answering your questions.


A 595/597 rider : Is there overflow parking for 595 and 597 patrons? Unless studies show that there is sufficient parking to accommodate riders at the Reston North lot.

Ellen Kamilakis : Based on recent ridership counts from the 595/597 service, patrons parking at Reston North for service to and from the Pentagon and Crystal City should have space at Reston North. Once Reston East closes, some existing Reston East users may decide to try Reston North as an alternative.  This may impact space available; we are hoping Reston East users are attracted to the enchanced bus service at the new Sunset Hills Park and Ride and Reston South Park and Ride. Buses to and from West Falls Church Metro will not serve Reston North.


Todd : My wife and I are moving to Reston later this Spring. My wife works in Chinatown and we did a practice run from our new home to see how the commute would go. A fellow passenger said there once was an express route from Reston to the Downtown area. Is that true and if so - any chance of it coming back? Secondly I work in Tysons and am slightly disappointed that the only service between Reston and Tysons is on 574 (which goes down Rt 7). Have you considered a direct service via the Toll Road from East Reston to the Westpark Transit stop? Thanks for your time

Nicholas Perfili : I've been with Fairfax Connector for just over two years; after asking around I was not able to find any information about a past bus route between Reston and downtown DC (perhaps prior to Metrorail opening along the Orange Line to Ballston?). To allow us to use our resources most efficiently, we generally to not provide bus service duplicative to Metrorail service. In the early 2000s, Fairfax Connector did operate service between Reston and Tysons Corner via Route 267. Unfortunately, the route was eliminated from service due to low ridership. Major changes to Reston and Herndon area bus routes will occur upon the opening of Phase I of Dulles Rail to Wiehle Avenue. For more information, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/tdp.htm (see Chapter 7, the Reston section).


Anonymous User : Reston South P&R will be served by the 585, 553, and 557. In the AM, riders can simply go to the P&R and catch the next bus that comes along. In the PM, however, there are separate pick up points at the WFC metro station, which means riders will have to pick the bus they want to take in advance and go to the appropriate line. Are you considering combining the three lines into a single spot at WFC? Thanks. The Connector staff is doing a great job of managing the Reston bus transitions!

Ellen Kamilakis : Great question. Staff will be monitoring ridership shifts and bus operations at West Falls Church after April 3 before recommending bus bay assignment changes.  Your suggestion to combine 553/557 and 585 service was discussed and will be considered.


Anonymous User : Is there any way that Routes 322 and 232 can be a bit apart so that when they show up at stop, both buses leave within a few minutes of each other and if you miss both, you have 30 minutes to wait and this is getting ridiculous. Part of the 232 route is the same as part of 322 so it helps many of us. This would be helpful especially in the winter time!!!!

Nicholas Perfili : A copy of your request was sent to our Service Planning group staff for review.  As a bus rider myself (Connector routes 621 and 623) I understand your request.


Anonymous User : First, I'd like to thank the Connector and all those working hard to help us adjust our commuting as the Wiehle Park and Ride closes. The South Park and Ride has conveniently added to its rush schedule but I believe that may be the only location that does not have mid-day or non-rush bus service. The RIBS buses do not go that far south. If i were to park there at rush hour and have an unplanned mid-day emergency, how would I reach my car by public transit? It would seem to preclude anyone working part time from parking there as well. Are there any plans to have at least one RIBS bus circulate through there? Thanks.

Ellen Kamilakis :

Fairfax Connector Route 605 provides off-peak and weekend service along Reston Parkway at Reston South. While this requires a transfer at Reston Town Center to and from Route 505, it does provide an off-peak connection.  View Route 605 service information at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/connector/routes/north.htm .  Remember, transfers are free within a two hour period with a SmarTrip card.

 


Anonymous User : You are replacing the Reston East Park and Ride with 2 lots (Baron Cam and Sunset Hills West) that do not have enough spaces. You are short 167 spaces according to my calculations. What are your plans for adding enough spaces to make up for those being eliminated??? When the lots are full by 8 a.m., you are going to have over 100 people without a place to park to get on the bus to work.

Ellen Kamilakis :

In addition to Sunset Hills and Baron Cameron Park, we also have approximately 240 empty spaces at the Reston South Park and Ride served by routes 553/557, 585 and 605 (605 along Reston Parkway). We are also encouraging patrons who live near a neighborhood bus stop to use routes 505, 551, 552, 553, 554, and 557 to ride to and from West Falls Church without having to navigate to a park and ride facility.

 


Anonymous User : How many parking spaces will be available at the revamped Reston East P&R and at the Sunset Hills RD P&R?

Ellen Kamilakis : Approximately 600 parking spaces will be available at the new Sunset Hills Park and Ride lot; the new parking garage to be constructed at the future Wiehle Avenue Metro will have 2,300 parking spaces.


BG : Fairfax Connector is a great service and I've started taking more advantage of it due to the high gas prices. More frequent service on 605 would be great, but my real question has to with the announcements that are made on buses. I was wondering if you've looked into installing automated annunciators. Most of the time, the infrequent location announcements are not intelligible, plus on a crowded bus, especially for visually impaired folks, some kind of audio when the stop cord is pulled would be nice. Many other bus services have these systems. Thanks for doing this chat.

Nicholas Perfili :

The County's Transit Development Plan recommends increasing service on Route 605 in addition to offering earlier weekday service. County staff are currently working on updating our plan to enhance our use of technology on buses; GPS (NextBus, or similar), automated annunciators, security cameras, etc...  As a rider on the system myself (you can find me on routes 621 and 623) I hope we have real-time arrival information and other improvements available sooner rather than later. One of our most common questions is 'Where is my bus?'


Anonymous User : when will there be bus from Centreville to reston or Herdon or weekend service to centreville area

Ellen Kamilakis :

Information about future Fairfax Connector and Metrobus service within Fairfax County can be viewed online at the Transit Development Plan (TDP) website noted in my opening remarks-- see Chapter 7 for detailed information. At this time, we unfortunately do not have resources to begin a new Centreville to Reston/Herndon service. Depending on your travel needs, Route 605 may be able to provide cross-county service.


Anonymous User : Hi Nick Perfili, could you ask your webmaster to change the word 'Listserv' on the Connector's home page to something more meaningful. Your alert system about major changes to our transit service have found to be very helpful in many instances, Reston East closure, notification about this chat, etc., but many miss out because they are not aware of this valuable service because it is hidden behind a weblink with a word that is meaningless to many or perhaps thinking this is a forbidden part of the website that one should not visit. Thanks.

Nicholas Perfili : I sent a copy of your request to our Web site administrator, Ellen Kamilakis, for review.  We think this is a good suggestion.


Michelle : The 171 (from Huntington to Springfield) is habitually late during the 4:45 - 6:15 timeframe. The definition for late ranges from 20 - 45 minutes. This occurs most weekdays. Yet, I never receive tweets regarding this bus being late. Why?

Ellen Kamilakis : Route 171 is one of the longest and busiest routes within the Fairfax Connector system.  Buses are frequently delayed due to traffic congestion along Richmond Highway and I-95. Fairfax Connector is aware of delays and we apologize for your inconvenience.  Stay tuned to www.fairfaxconnector.com for information about public outreach and service change proposals related to BRAC in the South County service area. This will include information about Route 171 service. We hope to have additional information available online by early to mid summer of this year.


Ben Gold : There doesn't seem like there are enough buses from the new Sunset Hills Park And Ride or from the Baron Cameron Park and Ride or the Route 595. It seems like it would be a better idea to have buses expand their routes within Reston to cut down on those needing the bus lots. For example, there should be a bus running the length of Lawyers Road all the way to Twin Branches. That would eliminate a lot of folks who would now need to drive to distant lots.

Ellen Kamilakis : You've hit the nail on the head; we are hoping many Reston commuters who live within walking distance of a bus stop on the 505 and 55x-series bus routes choose to use their neighborhood service instead of driving to a park and ride facility.  Travel time on the 55x-series routes will be reduced by about five minutes in each direction as buses will no longer circulate through the exisitng Reston East site upon closure. Expanding the neighborhood routes, unfortunately, requires resources not currently available.


sunny : My question is about the 585. If you look on the North County map which is here... http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/connector/pdf/northcountysystemmap.pdf ....it shows that the 585 turns off of Reston Parkway and goes along Sunrise Valley before getting onto the Toll Road. If this is true, it would be AWESOME for me...but the 585 schedule itself doesn't show this. http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/connector/maps/585m.htm which is correct?

Nicholas Perfili : The North County system map online shows an older Route 585 routing used by former select midday trips along Sunrise Valley Dr. in the reverse commute direction (to West Falls Church in the p.m., for example). Route 585 travels along Reston Parkway as noted on the Route 585 timetable map. Sorry for the confusion; we are currently working to update each of our system maps.


elizabeth : About a year and half ago, the schedule of the 557 was cut back and several trips taken off the schedule. Has there been any consideration given to restoring one or two of those trips? For those of us on the south side of town, it would be very helpful now. They have added more trips on other lines that serve the South Park and Ride, but not the 557...why? I used to ride the 557 from my neighborhood, and only starting driving to the P-n-R when the 557 was cut back...now there's no P-n-R either. I could drive to the South Park n Ride, but that would be going backwards... and crossing the Toll road on Reston Pkwy to the new P-n-R by Town Center is not an option; I could drive to West Falls Church faster :-) thanks for any insight !

Ellen Kamilakis : We will be monitoring ridership on the 55x-series routes to see if schedule adjustments need to be made. Select trips were added to the Route 551 and Route 552 schedules based on passenger feedback and ridership numbers (routes 551 and 552 are our busiest neighborhood routes). If resources permit and ridership warrants, we may be able to adjust the other 55x-series schedules.


Anonymous User : Hi Nick Perfili, on the bus runs with the newer low floor buses, I like the buses, except for the placement of the fareboxes. Instead of the display facing you boarding the bus, it is turned at a 90 degree angle. When want to check my SmarTrip card balance, I hold up a line of people behind me by having to move myself to read the display. I raised this issue before with others in FCDOT, but never received a good technical answer why this is so or why it cannot fixed to help passengers.

Ellen Kamilakis :

I will ask our fleet staff about the orientation of the fareboxes and pass along your report.


Scott from Fairfax/Chantilly : Hello Nick Perfili, we talked over a year ago, about the Route 650 offpeak and 65x reverse commuter buses serving the Lee Jackson Highway corridor stop at Fair Oaks Mall, which you said you received several passengers requests, and I confirmed for you that there was very little ridership (1-2 at most if any) on the outer Sullyfield Circle and Daly Drive diversions and still is so recently from my recent check, to create some bus runtime to do this. This also would create a good connection to the Route 630 (Centreville) buses that stop at the mall instead of going way out of the way often in much I66 traffic both ways to transfer at Vienna Metro. What is status of this?

Nicholas Perfili : At this time, there are no plans to alter Route 650 service. I am aware that what you note above has been requested; information was passed along to our Service Planning staff.


Anonymous User : Hi Nick Perfili, a couple of fellow passengers on one the West County Connector commuter routes suggested having an express Connector route from Vienna Metro to Rosslyn and the Pentagon, similar to 595/597 from Reston, and we would be willing to pay a premium fare to avoid the breakdowns, other delays, and the Orange (line) crush crowding, as Metrorail right now cannot be reliably depended on for the long haul (gave up hope years ago to use it to catch a plane or Amtrak).

Ellen Kamilakis : This type of service, from Vienna Metro to and from the Pentagon and the District, would duplicate existing transit service (the Orange and Blue lines on Metro in conjunction with the 6xx-series routes to and from Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Station). To allow us to use our resources most efficiently, we generally to not provide bus service duplicative to Metrorail service.


Anonymous User : Will Fairfax Connector alter or expand service to include Wall Rd past the new office buildings off Air & Space Parkway?

Ellen Kamilakis :

I sent your inquiry to our Service Planning team for review. To follow up, please e-mail fairfaxconnector@fairfaxcounty.gov regarding your request. Please keep in mind that expanding or altering service more than likely will require increased resources.


Michael Cooksey : As gas prices go up, ridership goes up. Are you prepared for an increase in ridership by adding more busses during peak hours? Specifically, the lines (from Vienna 63X) are getting longer, wait is longer, and packed to the gills with flesh. NOTE: By way, you guys are great and service is great - Send a few over to MetroRail to tech them how to do a service! What you guys did during the snow was just incredible

Nicholas Perfili : Thanks for your compliments regarding our snow service.  What a snow season indeed!  The County is aware of high ridership and overcrowding on 631/632 service between Vienna and the Stringfellow Rd Park and Ride.  At present we are providing the same frequency of service as former Metrobus routes 12L and 12S.  We anticipate additional service along this line in the future to accommodate the expansion of the Stringfellow Road Park and Ride lot.


Joseph Brown : Good afternoon. I am a District of Columbia resident who works in the office park directly in front of Reston East Park & Ride. In April when Reston East Closes....I will begin utilizing the bus stops along Sunset Hills Road for my daily commute to and from DC. My questions are regarding Sunset Hills Road between Wiehle Avenue & Reston Parkway. 1) Why is there not ONE speed limit sign for cars on Either side of Sunset Hills Road from Wiehle & Reston Parkway? 2) Is the County aware that more people will be along Sunset Hills Road in the morning and evening during their daily commute? Cars are traveling at high rates of speed up and down Sunset Hills Road. This is most apparent east bound on Sunset Hills Road from the new bus stop at Isaac Newton Square Road to Wiehle. Pedistrians along Sunset Hills Road and cars traveling at high rates of speed are a dangerous combination.

Ellen Kamilakis :

Signage along roads within Fairfax County, for the most part, are installed and maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). I will pass your inquiry along to VDOT; visit VDOT’s website at www.virginiadot.org/about/nova_quick.asp for more information.


Anonymous User : Will the Reston North Park and Ride get an Examiner box and Express box? By the time the riders from this lot get to their metro stops - Pentagon and Crystal City - there are no Examiner and Express papers left for us to pick up. All of the other Park and Rides in the Herndon-Reston area go to West Falls Church where the individuals are handed both papers upon their arrival.

Nicholas Perfili : The Reston North Park and Ride is owned and maintained by VDOT.  In most cases it is up to the news organizations to place their newspaper boxes.


Anonymous User : is there gonna be a bus that will stop @ the baron cameron parking lot?554?ans is it in your new schedule? tnx a lot for answering my query...

Ellen Kamilakis : Route 554 service to and from the Baron Cameron Park lot is available via bus stops along Wiehle Avenue north of Baron Cameron Avenue.  Passengers using Baron Cameron Park will need to walk to the existing bus stops along Wiehle.


Matt M : What type of occupancy are you expecting for the new Sunset Hills P&R?

Ellen Kamilakis : The existing Reston East Park and  Ride can accomodate just over 800 parking spaces; the Sunset Hills Park and Ride will accomodate approximately 600 parking spaces.  Additional park and ride capacity is available at Reston South Park and Ride with frequent rush hour service to and from West Falls Church on routes 553, 557, and 585.


K. Goldsmith : I, along with many other Connector riders, time my bus ride from Reston East/Wiehle to catch the 5:54am Metro train at W. Falls Church. So I was disappointed to see that neither the 505 or 555 bus from the new P&R at Sunset Hills is timed to arrive at W. Falls at around 5:50. The times are either much too early, or too late to catch the Metro at 5:54 am. Is there a plan to revisit the 505, and/or the 555 express bus schedules to adjust them for the times the Metro trains arrive at W. Falls? Thank you.

Ellen Kamilakis : I will forward a copy of your request to our Service Planning staff for review.  The County will be monitoring service after the April 3 changes.  Passengers are free to submit comments to fairfaxconnector@fairfaxcounty.gov.


Jyoti Agrawal : I like route 630 non rush hour route through fairOks mall. i would like to see it all day from Vienna metro. Please let us know is there any plan to extend their schedule for rush hours too. Thanks !

Nicholas Perfili : Route 630 provides off peak service between Centreville and Vienna.  During rush hour periods 631/632 service uses the Stringfellow Rd HOV ramp along I-66 to bypass Fair Lakes to allow for faster travel for commuters.  For service between the Vienna Metro and Fair Oaks Mall, use Metrobus routes 2B and 2G.  In addition, Metrobus Route 1C operates between Fair Oaks Mall and Dunn Loring Metro seven days a week. 


Steve Urban : The 553 bus continues to get on the normal toll road at Hunter Mill during the morning routes. Traffic on the toll road is normally moving fine at that point of the toll road, but the bus always experiences a back up before the main toll plaza and beyond due to the current construction of the hot lanes on 495. I propose that the 553 head west from Hunter Mill and then exit at Reston PKWY, then enter the airport lanes and continue on to WFC to avoid the traffic near the main toll plaza. This should be implemented until all construction is done.

Ellen Kamilakis : Great suggestion. Working with our operations team, we began an optional detour that runs as you suggest above on the a.m. Route 553 service. This allows access to the Airport Access Road if the general purpose lanes are congested.


Anonymous User : With the closing of Reston East, why haven't you added more busses to the 551 schedule?

Ellen Kamilakis : Please check the new (effective 04/03) Route 551 schedule.  Bus trips were added to Route 551 service.  551 link: www.fairfaxcounty.gov/connector/routes/551.htm


Mike : Now that the westbound exit at stringfellow park and ride is open at non rush hours, could routes evenoutside of rish hour that go to the Stringfellow park and ride get off at that exit instead of at the fiarfax county parkway exit and going through fair lakes? E.g., the 630/631/632 routes?

Nicholas Perfili : Hello, Mike.  Route 630 is designed to provide service to and from Fair Oaks Mall in addition to Stringfellow Rd and Centreville.  This route was designed based on public feedback when our new I-66 corridor services were planned.  I will pass along your suggestion to have the later evening (after 6:40p.m.) westbound 631 and 632 trips operate via the HOV ramp.


Frank : Suggestion, Route 1 buses could use the right lane as an exclusive lane (cars would move whenthey see them only) accelarating the trip. Additional, as I saw in Frankfurt and Vienna, there is aelectronic billboard indicating how long will it take for the next bus to arrive.

Ellen Kamilakis : Dedicated transit lanes along Richmond Highway would allow for more efficient travel. The county's Transit Development Plan recommends increasing service on Route 605 in addition to offering earlier weekday service. County staff are currently working on updating our plan to enhance our use of technology on buses; GPS (NextBus, or similar), automated annunciators, security cameras, etc. I hope we have real-time arrival information and other improvements available sooner rather than later. One of our most common questions is 'Where is my bus?'


Toora Arsala : Hi My Question is this, does fairfax connector have a plan for students with disabilities???

Nicholas Perfili : All Fairfax Connector buses are wheelchair accessible and open to the public.  The only requirement of passengers to board is to have valid fare or a pass.


Anonymous User : I live near Armstrong Elementary off Ffx County Parkway. With the closing of the Reston East P&R, I would like to take a bus from my neighborhood, but the only bus route is the RIBS 4 bus. That bus would then take me to Reston Town Center where I woudl transfer to the 505. Why doesn't the county start back up the buses that were discontinued (556) with a more direct route so as not to have to transfer and lose a lot of time with the RIBS 4 bus to a bus that goes to West Falls Church? Thank you.

Nicholas Perfili : RIBS 4 service was restructured in January 2010.  The new RIBS 4 weekday peak service provides a direct connection between Lake Newport Rd and Reston Town Center Transit Station (similar to the former 556 routing).  View RIBS 4 information at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/connector/routes/ribs4.htm .


Regular rider : Are bus drivers allowed to talk on a hands-free Bluetooth cellphone while driving? An evening driver on Route 644 does so.

Ellen Kamilakis : Drivers are strictly prohibited from using cell phones while operating the bus. Fairfax Connector has taken the Orange Cones. No Phones. Employer Safety Pledge. If you notice a driver using a cell phone again while operating the bus, please submit an official complaint via e-mail to fairfaxconnector@fairfaxcounty.gov.  Be sure to include the date, approximate time, route, direction of travel and your contact information so staff can follow up.  I saw the details you provided already (thanks!) but we do need this via email to begin an investigation.


Anonymous User : Are there plans to extend service/add a bus route in the Centreville South area? (Route 641 in particular)?

Nicholas Perfili : The Transit Development Plan outlines our future service concepts; the TDP link is provided in my opening remarks.  Feel free to e-mail your specific question to fairfaxconnector@fairfaxcounty.gov, including where you are requesting extended Route 641 service.


Bill : I would highly encourage (and would gladly pay an increased fare for) the installation of technology that enables real time tracking for riders. Considering construction in the Tysons area - it's difficult to have confidence my bus (425) will arrive on time. Adding this technology should draw more riders who feel they won't be wasting much of their time waiting and wondering.

Ellen Kamilakis :

County staff are currently working on updating our plan to enhance our use of technology on buses; GPS (NextBus, or similar), automated annunciators, security cameras, etc.


Anonymous User : ellen its my understanding that the 55X neighborhood buses on the North side of Reston did get expanded. How come no expansion on the South side? especially when our service was previously cut back more?

Ellen Kamilakis : Trips will be added to Route 551 service, effective April 3. Check www.fairfaxcounty.gov/connector/routes/551.htm for trip details. As well, service on Route 585 (out of Reston South) was enhanced in late 2010.


Laura W : My compliments to Fairfax Connector, staff and ambassadors, for providing the wealth of information regarding the closing of the Reston east Park and Ride. THANK YOU!!!

Ellen Kamilakis : Thank you for your compliments! It is very important to staff that our riders are informed. I will pass your kudos on to all of the ambassadors!


Anonymous User : I got the 950 Herndon-Monroe bus enroute to the Reston Town Center and asked the bus driver for a transfer ( I used a Smartrip card) the driver told me that transfers aren't used anymore. Is this true?

Nicholas Perfili : Paper transfers are no longer issued.  Free bus-to-bus transfers are available using your SmarTrip card within a two hour time period.  SmarTrip is the only way to receive a transfer.


Anonymous User : Is there a timeline to change the 380D back to the 380 route. Or is that indefinate.

Ellen Kamilakis : At this time, we are anticipating that this will be an indefinite change as construction is still going on at Franconia-Springfield Metro Station.


Kim T. : We are new to the area. Is there a military discount offered to members of the military and their immediate families? If so, how do we go about purchasing discounted fares? If not, has any consideration ever been given to such?

Nicholas Perfili : Depending on your position within the Department of Defense you may be eligible for SmartBenefits.  See www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/smartbenefits.htm for more information.

Fairfax Connector fare information can be viewed at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/connector/riders/fares.htm .


Abigale : What can be done to regulate arrival times better? My recent experiences are showing more and more buses on the 401/402 route arriving and then leaving their stops up to ten minutes earlier than scheduled, leaving a far longer wait time for the next bus, and a rash of missed connections. I understand there are severe problem spots on these routes – Merrifield and Annandale, for example. Late buses I can deal with; buses breezing by a good ten minutes before their scheduled time throws schedules off to an chaotic degree.

Nicholas Perfili : I am sorry to hear about your missed connections.  Route 401 and 402 service is relatively frequent at all times; you may be seeing buses arriving late instead of early.  As you note, there are many places along these long routes where we run into traffic congestion, Merrifield, Annandale (John Marr Dr), the Gallows Rd bridge over the Beltway, etc...


Anonymous User : With the closure of the Reston East P&R I am going to TRY to take the 554, that runs by my house, but I am a bit apprehensive b/c they only run every 30 mins. With Metro being unpredictable, I am worried that my hour long commute will turn into a 90 minute commute. Any chance of increasing the times between busses on this line?

Ellen Kamilakis : The County will be monitoring service after the April 3 changes. Adjustments may be made based on ridership changes and passenger feedback. Feel free to submit comments to fairfaxconnector@fairfaxcounty.gov.


Anonymous User : How will the planned major roadwork on I-66 between the beltway and 50 beginning Monday through late next year affect bus service?

Nicholas Perfili : Hello fellow I-66 commuter.  Like you, we are not excited about what will more than likely be congestion along the impacted segment of I-66.  Our West Ox operations team is aware of this upcoming evening road work.


Anonymous User : During winter months the heat is blasting to temperatures in the upper 70s. That is too warm for riders with coats and hats. (Generally, the driver is not wearing a coat.) In the summer, the a/c is blasting to temperatures in the lower 60s. Would it be possible to instruct the drivers to maintain a more reasonable temperature?

Ellen Kamilakis : On most of our buses, we make a twice-yearly change to either heat or A/C. The only settings the driver has to control the temperature is either on or off.


Anonymous User : Why is there only wrong-way reverse-commuter service available on the 926 route? The buses run away from Herndon-Monroe park and ride in the morning, when I'm trying to get to the park and ride to get to Metro. The buses run toward the park and ride when I'm getting off the 980 bus and trying to get from the park and ride to home. I have been asking about this for years, and have gotten no answer. I could leave my car at home if this bus route also ran in normal commuting patterns, instead of only serving the reverse commuters. What's going on??

Nicholas Perfili : Hello.  Route 926 service is the reverse direction of the peak service Route 924.  If you look at the schedule, you will see that when a bus arrives at Herndon Junction plaza at the north end of Dranesville Road it changes to or from Route 924 to Route 926.  Route 926 provides commuters service from Herndon-Monroe to Worldgate businesses.


Anonymous User : Thanks for the work you are doing! Very good public communication. How about making sure every single bus in Reston is full of new schedules and time tables? They are often empty or filled with older schedules.

Ellen Kamilakis : Thank you for your kind words. Our ambassadors at Reston East and West Falls Church will have the new schedules on-hand. The new schedules will be placed on buses, effective April 3.


555 Question : I see that the westbound routing for the new 555 has the bus exiting at Reston Parkway and then making a left on Sunset Hills. That area is a major congestion zone on Reston Parkway, as there is very little distance for traffic exiting from the Toll Road to get across three lanes of traffic to make a left onto Sunset Hills. I just have a feeling it's going to be tough for your operators to get across all that traffic to make a left, and that it might make more sense to continue on 267 to 7100 north and then onto Sunset Hills east (or to exit at Wiehle and follow the 505 routing). Just a thought...

Nicholas Perfili : Thanks for your concern and for pointing this out; our operations team had a similar concern.  Westbound 555 service will actually exit VA-267 at the Fairfax County Pkwy (VA-7100) and proceed to eastbound Sunset Hills Rd non-stop to the new interim park and ride lot.  This way we avoid the left turn you describe in your questions.  The Route 555 map is updated online.


South Lakes rider : Will the overflow lots along Sunset Hills near Wiehle remain open for commuter parking after Reston East is closed? This would give additional access to the 505 off-peak bus, which I understand will run down Sunset Hills to Wiehle.

Nicholas Perfili : Good morning.  I am assuming you are asking about the Reston North Park and Ride lot (the long thin lot along Sunset Hills Rd west of Wiehle).  This lot at present is filled with Route 595 and 597 passengers.  Route 505 will serve the new Sunset Hills Park and Ride on all trips, including off-peak service.


Jessica : I live in Centreville near the Stone Rd lot and would love to take Fairfax Connector to Crystal City; unfortunately the only line departs from Reston. Are there any plans to expand lines departing from Centreville to Crystal City/Arlington? I realize I could take a line to the Vienna metro, but the transfers/general metro delays really lengthen my commute by an undesirable amount.

Ellen Kamilakis :

Information about future Fairfax Connector and Metrobus service within Fairfax County can be viewed online at the Transit Development Plan (TDP) website noted in Nick's opening remarks-- see Chapter 7 for detailed information. At this time, we unfortunately do not have resources to begin a new Centreville to Crystal City service.


Frequent Rider : The 621/623 route to the Government Center timetable was changed awhile ago and it is very inconvenient. The bus leaves Vienna at approximately 6:03 and then the next one is 6:41. Passengers are constantly missing both busess by seconds. Is there any possbility to changing the 6:03 by just a few minutes? Some passenges are driving due to the schedule change. As a side note: The majority of the drivers on 621/623 are the best in the business. For example, Bailey and Lee and occasionally Young reappears every now and then. The best ever.

Nicholas Perfili : Sorry to hear about your inconvenience and missing a 623 bus by seconds (this happens to me too!).  I will pass your request along to our Service Planning staff.  Thank you for your comments about our bus operators-- much appreciated.


elaine : Since the RIBS buses won't stop at Reston East anymore, if you live on the south side of Reston, then taking the RIBS to the RTC or new Sunset Hills lot means that that the ride is much longer. Because it has to circle back around to the lots. If you are on the north part of town it is not as much of a problem. We need more service on the south part of Reston if you want people to use the neighborhood buses.

Nicholas Perfili : Hi Elaine.  We appreciate you using RIBS service.  On-street transfers can be made between RIBS and other bus routes.  I realize this may not be as convenient, but with Reston East being closed, we will not have a second location for off-street transfers.  In case you are not aware, additional trips were added to the Route 551 schedule if you need to travel to and from West Falls Church via South Lakes Drive, Hunters Woods, Colts Neck Rd, and the western portion of Glade Drive (west of Reston Pkwy).


Susan : Here's a challenge for you all! Is there any way to hack a trip from Springfield to the Fairfax Government Center down from 1 ½ hours?

Ellen Kamilakis : The quickest route that we'd suggest taking between Springfield to the Fairfax County Government Center would be Route 401 to Dunn Loring Metro via Annandale, Orange Line west to Vienna, then Routes 621/623. Unfortunately this appears it would be at least an hour trip.


Anonymous User : Hi Nick Perfili, how close are we to getting GPS tracking of Fairfax Connector buses, less the probable county budget issues for doing this? Jurisdictions in and around us have this capability including Metrorail, Metrobus, Fairfax City CUE, and Loudoun County Transit. It would certainly improve the customer experience, especially on those inclement weather days at unsheltered stops, by saving passenger waits outside. Just a thought, perhaps the bus shelter advertising program announced some time back, which unsure of status now, could help pay for this if it materializes. Probably one of the most frequently asked questions is, where is my bus?

Ellen Kamilakis : We completely agree and are working towards implementing many forms of ITS including GPS, stop annunciators, security cameras, etc.


Nicholas Perfili : Well folks, we are out of time for now and are sorry if your question was not answered.  If you wish to contact staff, please visit us online at www.fairfaxconnector.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fairfaxconnector.

Thank you for supporting transit and for riding with the Fairfax Connector.

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