Taking Full Advantage of the Express Connector Bus Routes


Board Matter
November 20, 2012

Taking Full Advantage of the Express Connector Bus Routes


Madame Chairman,

In January, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) will launch the first of what will eventually be three new bus lines that seek to take advantage of the 495 Express Lanes. The initial line will provide commuters in the Burke community with quick, reliable access to Tysons Corner. The two other lines, opening soon thereafter, will service commuters in the Lorton and Springfield areas.

These new bus routes offer Fairfax residents new options to reach Tysons, but they offer even greater potential than that. Currently, residents of Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park have only one option for reaching Tysons – driving on traffic choked I-66 or, worse, clogging up 50, Lee Highway, or other primary or even secondary roads, like Braddock. With the Express Bus service, however, these residents have, for example, the option of taking the VRE to Burke Centre, disembarking, and continuing to Tysons via transit. This opportunity is not only of benefit to those residents of other jurisdictions, but Fairfax residents will benefit every time one of those drivers, currently adding to our road congestion, opts to take the train and bus instead. Consequently, FCDOT should market these routes not just to Fairfax residents, but those in outer jurisdictions as well.

In many transit systems riders are given a financial incentive on train to bus routes, where a transfer ticket from the train to the bus saves funds off the full price of each. Such benefits encourage riders to stick with transit. We should encourage the same on both the Burke VRE and Lorton VRE Express Connector routes. This suggestion was made at last week’s VRE Operations Board meeting and merits consideration.

Therefore, we move that the Board direct staff to initiate discussions with the VRE on whether a system of transfer tickets can be established, along with a joint marketing campaign, to encourage current drivers in outer jurisdictions who commute to Tysons to consider the new, joint option of using both the VRE and Fairfax Connector.

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