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Slugs expected to come out of the woodwork when I-66 E-ZPass Lanes open

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On the busy lanes of Interstate 66, the unique Northern Virginia institution of “Slugging” has never caught on.

While popular on Interstate 95 since the 1970’s as a fast and free way for commuters in vehicles of three or more occupants to get to their jobs Arlington and Washington, D.C., commuters on I-66 have never adopted the practice.

Why? Because Interstate 95 from Prince William County to the Pentagon had long had a separate facility housing two reversible express lanes that carry commuters north in the morning and south in the evening. Concrete barriers placed alongside these lanes prevent drivers from the main travel lanes from weaving in and out of the express lanes and gumming up the flow of traffic in the express lanes.

Those express lanes in 2014 were converted to E-ZPass lanes, which now require all drivers to have an electronic E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex transponder mounted to their windshield to use the lanes. The express lanes were also extended south from Prince William County to Garrisonville in Stafford County. 

Vehicles with three or more occupants can still use the lanes for free.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe earlier this month announced they are once again being extended south to Route 17 near Fredericksburg. 

What’s slugging? What’s a slug?

Slugging is a form of commuting where riders ride free and the drivers — many of whom have a reserved parking space at their work or choose to pay for parking — get to skip the congestion on the main travel lanes and get to work faster.

Slugging is a form of commuting where riders ride free and the drivers — many of whom have a reserved parking space at their work or choose to pay for parking — get to skip the congestion on the main travel lanes and get to work faster.

A slug is, as you might have guessed, is the carpooler that rides for free. Slugs park their cars each morning at a commuter lot and stand in “slug lines” — designated lines with people going to similar destinations, like the Pentagon or Downtown Washington. When the next car pulls up to the front of the line, two or three slugs get in and off they go.

No money is exchanged, and no iPhone or Android apps used to hail the ride like an Uber rideshare service.

Things are changing along the I-66 corridor, and that could lead to, for the first time, Slugging, being a viable, reliable option for commuting from places like Haymarket, Gainesville, and Manassas to Washington, D.C.

“Our vision for the corridor definitely includes carpooling as well as other forms of mass transit,” said Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Michelle Holland. “We’re making investments in the corridor, and as a result of tolling, we’re going to be able to fund to more transit and multi-modal services that will provide for a more reliable trip.”

The investment is called “Transform 66,” a project that when complete, officials hope will deliver on its namesake. 

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First changes take affect Summer 2017

Starting next summer on I-66 inside the Capital Beltway, drivers must have an E-ZPass Flex or E-ZPass to use the lanes from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., and from 3 to 7 p.m. Vehicles with occupants of two or more won’t be charged a toll.

Today, drivers on I-66 must already have two or more occupants inside their vehicles to use the highway on weekday mornings and afternoons. 

Outside the Capital Beltway on I-66, from I-495 to Route 15 in Haymarket, two new lanes will be constructed each direction. These lanes, like their counterparts on I-95. will be a separate facility. 

Hello, reliable lanes 

Concrete barriers will stop single drivers from gumming up the works and merging into the lanes, as they currently do on the single High Occupancy Vehicle lane on I-66 today. That constant weaving and merging slow the trip for commuters who play by the rules and have two or more occupants inside the car. 

Individual drivers may choose to pay a toll to use the new lanes, while vehicles with three or more occupants will ride free when the new lanes open by late 2020. 

Also, when the new lanes between the Capital Beltway and Haymarket open, the rules to use the lanes for free inside the Capital Beltway will change. Drivers will need three, not two, occupants inside their cars, and an E-ZPass Flex transponder to use the lanes for free. 

A total of 4,000 new commuter parking spaces is also being built along the corridor for slugs to park and ride as part of the project. The goal for state transportation officials is to deliver a game-changing project that will get commuters to and from work quicker and to provide more travel options in the long-congested corridor.

I-95 fears never materialized

There was fear in 2014, and the years leading up to the conversion of HOV-3 on I-95 lanes to E-ZPass Express Lanes on I-95, that more individual drivers would opt to pay a toll and not stop to pick up slugs. If more single drivers jumped into the express lanes, slugs feared that could slow things down, increase travel times, take away the “get there fast and free” incentive for slugging, and more slugs would then opt to drive instead of choosing to park and ride.

“Quite the opposite has happened, actually,” said David LeBlanc, who wrote a book about slugging called “Slugging: dyhamicThe Commuting Alternative For Washington DC” and runs the commuter friendly website Slug-lines.com. “We thought more slugs would choose to drive or hop a bus and instead, mostly because of the tolls, we’ve seen the number of slugs increase.”

LeBlanc said he expects to add the names of new Slug lines that form along I-66 in western Prince William County to his website. Applications on iPhones and Andriod could aide the formation of new Slug lines, and he’s thought about developing one.

“I’ve been approached by developers who’ve seen my website and want to develop an app, but the majority of them want to find a way to monetize slugging and that’s not what the ture nature of slugging is about,” said LeBlanc.

A new app called Sluglines.com, not to be confused with LeBlanc’s Slug-Lines.com, launched earlier this year. It pretty much does the same thing LeBlanc’s website does and lists the locations of Slug lines in Northern Virginia. 

The toll pricing on the I-95 E-ZPass Express Lanes is based on a dynamic on a pricing system. Toll prices are posted on overhead electronic signs on the highway, and increase or decrease based on the number vehicles currently using the express lanes — toll-paying cars, carpoolers, and commuter buses.

The more vehicles in the lanes, the higher the toll. Fewer cars, the toll rate decreases. Single drivers that enter the toll lanes are locked in at whatever price per mile is shown on the overhead sign.

Most toll prices range between $1.10 and $4. Some tolls can be as high as $22 during the afternoon rush hour, for drivers headed south to Stafford County.

The new E-ZPass Express Lanes that will “transform 66” will operate the same way.

News
VRE Chairman on newfound riders: ‘I hope they stay’

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Ridership on Virginia’s only commuter rail service, Virginia Railway Express, is up thanks to the work to rebuild Washington’s Metro system. 

From Virginia Railway Express (VRE): 

During a time of year when ridership typically drops due to summer vacations and flexible schedules, the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) is instead carrying more passengers than ever before. Last Tuesday, July 12, VRE experienced its highest single-day ridership with 23,309 individual trips.

The uptick in single-day trips continued through the week, as the following day, (Wednesday, July 13) saw 21,935 trips, which is the system’s second highest single-day total and Thursday (July 14) boasted the third highest single- day ridership at 21,196 trips. Another record was shattered in regards to weekly ridership, as VRE topped 100,000 trips last week, the first time VRE has hit that number.

This ridership surge can be linked to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) SafeTrack program. Beginning July 5, WMATA’s SafeTrack Surges #3 and #4 closed sections of Metrorail’s Blue and Yellow lines in Northern Virginia. Those Metrorail lines generally parallel VRE’s rail lines and serve many of the same destinations, allowing Metro riders to easily transition to VRE.

The recent boom in ridership comes at a time when the 24-year-old commuter rail service is looking ahead to 2040, with plans to more than double it’s current daily average ridership from 19,000 to 40,000, add service to Haymarket and Gainesville, and create a midday reverse transit service between Alexandria and Manassas. 

VRE Board Chairman Gary Skinner, of Spotsylvania, said commuters who were used to riding Metro and now switched to VRE had uncovered a best-kept secret. 

“Because of the shutdown of Metro in certain areas, people have found that it is just as easy to get to Union Station and other places in D.C … they’ve liked it, and we’ve seen ridership increase, ” said Skinner. “I hope [the newfound riders] stay, think they’ll find riding VRE is a little more comfortable, VRE is a nicer ride, so I do hope they stay.”  

VRE was already crowded on its weekday trips to and from Fredericksburg and Washington, and Manassas and Washington. The system was able to add additional rail cars to ease the crowding. 

“We don’t use every rail car we have in our rolling stock every day, so we’re able to add cars where we need them,” said Skinner. 

News
Truck that caught fire at Haymarket loaded with tomatoes

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Truck burns underneath one-of-a-kind interchange under construction 

A tractor trailer hauling tomatoes caught fire this morning under a brand new bridge in Haymarket.

The truck was traveling on Interstate 66 when it hit a guard rail. The truck them burst into flames underneath the new bridge that carries Route 15 traffic over I-66, known as the Diverging Diamond Interchange.

The driver of the truck suffered minor injuries. Inspection crews from the Virginia Department of Transportation went to investigate damage to the bridge after fire crews extinguished the blaze, said Haymarket Mayor David Leake.

This was the first fire at the new bridge, and “it fared well through it, it seems,” added Leake.

More from Virginia State Police:

At 8:06 a.m., Monday (July 18, 2016), Virginia State Police Trooper R.E. Curiel responded to a single-vehicle crash on Interstate 66 under the Route 15 overpass.

A tractor-trailer was traveling east on I-66 when it ran off the left side of the interstate, struck the guardrail, and traveled approximately 1/10 of a mile against the guardrail before coming to a stop. The truck then caught fire.

The driver, Jose E. Martinez, 50, of Brownsville, Texas, suffered minor injuries in the crash. He was charged with reckless driving. Fatigue was a factor in the crash, which remains under investigation.

The tractor-trailer was loaded with tomatoes.

Westbound lanes of I-66 were reopened at about 9 a.m. Eastbound lanes of I-66 will remain closed for cleanup and removal of the charred tractor-trailer. Motorists are advised to seek an alternate route and be prepared for delays.

Photos are attached. The photos are property of the Virginia State Police, which grants permission for the republication and rebroadcast of the images.

 

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News
Work on E-ZPass Express Lanes extension to Fredericksburg begins

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From VDOT: 

Construction begins today on a project to extend 95 Express Lanes in Stafford County by 2.5 miles, seeking to reduce congestion and driver delay at the facility’s southern terminus near Garrisonville Road.

The Virginia Department of Transportion has partnered with 95 Express Lanes operator Transurban to add operational and safety improvements where the facility merges with the main lanes of I-95.

The approximate 2.5 mile extension will carry traffic beyond the flyover ramp where 95 Express Lanes currently end, just north of Exit 143 at Route 610 (Garrisonville Road).

When the project is complete:

Northbound traffic in the main lanes will be able to enter 95 Express Lanes earlier at a new left entrance south of the Garrisonville Road overpass. The existing left entrance north of Garrisonville Road will remain.

Southbound Express Lanes traffic heading to the Fredericksburg area and south will be able to continue past Garrisonville and merge about one mile south of Garrisonville Road.

What Motorists Can Expect

Most construction will occur in the median of I-95 and within existing right-of-way. New tolling and regulatory signs will be installed along the northbound lanes of I-95, south of Garrisonville Road.

Travel lanes will remain open during morning and afternoon rush hour. Work requiring lane closures will be performed during off-peak travel times.

Early construction is beginning in permitted areas, including the installation of temporary concrete barriers along the north- and southbound left shoulders of I-95, and tree clearing in the median. Drivers should expect reduced inside shoulders in both directions on I-95, and should stay alert for slow-moving construction vehicles entering and exiting the travel lanes.

Project Background

In May 2016, the Commonwealth Transportation Board awarded a contract worth approximately $31.1 million to Branch Highways Inc., of Roanoke to design and construct the reversible extension of 95 Express Lanes at the southern terminus.

The southbound ramp is scheduled to open by early 2018, and the northbound ramp will open in summer 2018.

 

News
Rail work at Arkendale will delay drivers

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Live in the Arkendale section of Stafford County? Heads up: 

From VDOT: 

Motorists traveling to the Widewater area of Stafford County July 25-29 may experience brief travel delays due to scheduled rail work at Arkendale.

Traffic at the intersection of Route 633 (Arkendale Road) and Route 658 (Brent Point Road) will use a temporary railroad crossing between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day on July 25-29.

The existing railroad crossing will be closed during the day to allow CSX to make improvements. At the end of each day, the crossing will be re-opened to traffic overnight.

The temporary railroad crossing will connect Arkendale Road and Brent Point Road slightly north of the existing intersection. It will be a one-lane crossing, and traffic will be directed by a flagging crew.

Additionally, between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. on July 25-29, traffic traveling to and from Brent Point Road east of the railroad crossing must use Route 633 (Arkendale Road) and Route 611 (Widewater Road). Through traffic will not be permitted on Brent Point Road west of the railroad crossing during the day.

Click here to view an online map of the temporary railroad crossing and detour route.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is coordinating closely with public safety and emergency response agencies. These agencies will be provided direct access in the event of an emergency.

Additional road construction is planned this fall in the Arkendale area. After the crossing work is completed, roadway patching will occur on Arkendale Road to prepare it for resurfacing.  Trench widening and resurfacing is expected to begin on Arkendale Road in November and will be completed by mid-December. This planned work will add additional width to Arkendale Road between Widewater and Brent Point.

 

News
Nightly closures continue in Haymarket for I-66 work

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From VDOT: 

Drivers can expect nightly lane closures on I-66 this week at Route 15 in Haymarket, weather permitting, for crews to remove beams from the old Route 15 overpass.

On eastbound I-66, single-lane closures will begin around 8 p.m. each night tonight, July 5 through Saturday, July 9. Beginning around 10 p.m., all eastbound traffic will be detoured onto the Route 15 exit/entrance ramps (at Exit 40) back to I-66. All lanes will reopen by 5 a.m.

On westbound I-66, single-lane closures will begin around 9 p.m. each night tonight, July 5 through Saturday, July 9. Beginning around 10 p.m., all westbound traffic will be detoured onto the Route 15 exit/entrance ramps (at Exit 40) back to I-66. All lanes will reopen by 5 a.m.

Police will be on site to direct traffic. Drivers should expect delays and are advised to use alternate routes.

This project includes building a new diverging-diamond interchange (DDI) at I-66 and Route 15 to relieve congestion, enhance safety, operations and capacity, and accommodate forecasted traffic demand in the area. Diverging-diamond interchanges shift vehicles to the opposite side of the road and eliminate left turns that cross into oncoming traffic, improving safety. Work will be complete in fall 2017. Visit the project webpage for more details.

News
State wins grant to extend E-ZPass Express Lanes to Fredericksburg

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is celebrating today, announcing the state won a $165 million federal FASTLANE grant to improve transportation along Interstate 95 and 395. 

The 95 E-ZPass Express Lanes will be extended from North Stafford to Fredericksburg as part of the project. 

Here’s more from McAulliffe’s press release

The $165 million FASTLANE grant will leverage $565 million in private investments and $710 million in other transportation funds to:

Build 14 miles of new rail track to improve reliability and capacity for freight, commuter, and passenger rail service, including phase I of the project to unlock rail congestion at Long Bridge

Extend 95 Express Lanes for seven miles north to the Potomac River and improve access to the Pentagon

Extend the 95 Express Lanes 10 miles south to Fredericksburg to alleviate backups at the current southern terminus

Construct a new southbound bridge on I-95 across the Rappahannock River

Provide dedicated on-going reinvestment in expanded bus service in the corridor to ensure that all populations have access to jobs, education and health care services

Add new commuter parking, technology upgrades and truck parking along the corridor

Build pavement for autonomous vehicle enhancement; this will provide the infrastructure to test and deploy driverless cars

Acquire the S-line, an abandoned rail corridor that runs from North Carolina to the Richmond area, from CSX to provide public ownership of a corridor key for future Southeast High Speed Rail.

States Delegate Mark Dudenhefer: 

“I am appreciative for the collaborative effort to secure this funding and that we will see the process moving forward on transportation improvements. Now that we have secured this funding we need to roll up our sleeves and move dirt on the projects so our citizens see the results and benefits.”

Also from State Senator Scott Surovell:

News
Rescue crews called to crash on Dale Boulevard

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Police, fire and rescue crews were called about 11 p.m. Monday, July 4 to a crash on Dale Boulevard, we’re told. 

The crash occurred on the four-lane road between Glendale Drive and Greenwood Road.

Initial reports indicated at least one person was trapped inside one of the vehicles. That turned out to be false, were told.

 



More on this crash as we have it.

News
Airbag deploys in Balls Ford Road crash

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An airbag deployed inside a Saturn SUV about 10:30 a.m.

The Saturn collided with a work truck at the intersection of Balls Ford and Gary Roads near Manassas. No one was injured.

Police called to the scene said one driver failed to stop at a posted stop sign. We don’t yet know who is charged in the crash.

Shattered glass strewn across Balls Ford Road following the collision.

More as we have it.

News
Changes coming to transit systems for July 4

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From PRTC: 

In observance of the Independence Day holiday, there will be no PRTC bus service on Monday, July 4. Regular Saturday service will resume on Tuesday, July 5.

For best results, local OmniLink passengers wishing to make a reservation for an off-route trip for Tuesday, July 5 should call Customer Service by 7 p.m., Friday, July 1.

In preparation for the three-day weekend, PRTC will have a few extra PM OmniRide buses available for potential overflow on Friday, July 1. Because PRTC experiences a significant increase in mid-day and early afternoon OmniRide passengers on the day before a three-day weekend, to avoid overcrowding you may want to consider taking Metrorail or other regional bus services and transferring to a Metro Direct bus to complete your commute.

For more information, call our Customer Service office at 703-730-6664 or email Omni@OmniRide.com. Schedule information is posted atwww.PRTCtransit.org.

From VRE: 

In observance of Independence Day, VRE will not operate normal service on Monday, July 4th. Regular service will resume on Tuesday, July 5th.

From Metro: 

Metro will provide frequent rail service during the evening hours of Monday, July 4, to accommodate those attending the fireworks display on the National Mall.

Several hundred thousand passengers are expected to take Metrorail on Independence Day, with crowds primarily traveling to and from the 9:10 p.m. fireworks display on the Mall, as well as other events around the region. Metrorail service will operate from 7 a.m. until midnight, with near rush-hour service levels before and after the fireworks. Off-peak fares will be in effect for the entire service day.

For more information, please see the news release: http://www.wmata.com/about_metro/news/PressReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=6127

Photo: John H. Gray

 

 

News
VDOT will tear down beams from the old Catharpin Road overpass

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Update from VDOT on June 28, 2016

Update: Closures for eastbound I-66 tonight and westbound I-66 Wednesday and Thursday are being rescheduled to next week (new dates will be announced). The eastbound work for Wednesday and Thursday nights will continue as planned.

Original post

From VDOT:

The Virginia Department of Transportation will conduct overnight lane closures on I-66 several nights this week between Route 15 and Route 29 in Gainesville, weather permitting, for crews to remove beams from the old Catharpin Road overpass.

On eastbound I-66, single-lane closures will begin around 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 28 through Thursday, June 30. Intermittent total closures up to 20 minutes will begin around midnight each night. One lane will be reopened after each total closure, with all lanes reopened by 5 a.m.

On westbound I-66, single-lane closures will begin around 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 29 and Thursday, June 30. Intermittent total closures up to 20 minutes will begin around midnight each night. One lane will be reopened after each total closure, with all lanes reopened by 5 a.m.

Motorists should expect delays and are advised to use alternate routes.

The new Catharpin Road overpass is part of the I-66 Widening Project, which will add one regular and one HOV lane in each direction from Route 29 in Gainesville to Route 15 in Haymarket. The $65 million project is scheduled for completion in August.

Follow VDOT Northern Virginia on Twitter: @vadotnova

 

News
More info on PRTC fare hike coming July 5

Many riders begin and end their commutes, or transfer to other PRTC buses at the agency’s Transit Center in Woodbridge.

From PRTC: 

As of July 5, fares will increase an average of 5%. The one-way fare on OmniRide commuter buses will increase from $6.20 to $6.50, Metro Direct commuter buses will rise from $3.10 to $3.25, and OmniLink local buses will increase from $1.40 to $1.50.

In another change, OmniRide commuter bus routes will offer fewer trips on Fridays and will no longer operate on these holidays: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President’s Day, Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving Friday, and Christmas Eve.

Also: 

Tuesday, July 5 on buses operated by the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC). PRTC updates its bus schedules twice a year to reflect changes in routing and travel times. These service changes and the fare increase were the subject of a series of public hearings held in February.

PRTC currently operates 17 commuter routes and 7 local bus routes serving Prince William County, the City of Manassas and the City of Manassas Park. In FY16, PRTC buses have carried an average of 11,200 passengers daily.

And, finally, 

Other notable changes taking effect July 5:

The Capitol Hill OmniRide route is eliminated.

Dale City OmniRide buses no longer service Crystal City. Instead, passengers going to Crystal City must ride a Lake Ridge OmniRide bus, or transfer to one.

Many OmniRide buses no longer serve neighborhood routing; instead service begins and ends at area commuter lots.

Manassas Metro Direct buses no longer offer all-day round-trip service between Manassas and the Tysons Corner Metro Station. In the morning, buses travel only from Manassas to Tysons, and in the afternoon/evening, buses travel only from Tysons to Manassas.

Manassas OmniLink local bus route is split into two separate routes: Manassas OmniLink-North and Manassas OmniLink-South. The buses meet at Manassas Mall at specific times to enable passengers to transfer.

Manassas Park OmniLink offers service only on the counter-clockwise Loop A routing, and buses meet up with the Manassas OmniLink North and South routes at Manassas Mall to enable passengers to transfer.

Online versions of the new schedule brochures – showing new routing and timetables – are available at PRTCtransit.org. For additional information about PRTC’s transportation services, contact PRTC’s Customer Service office at (703) 730-6664.

News
Pedestrian struck by train is Friday’s second fatality in Prince William

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One person was struck by a train outside Manassas tonight. 

We don’t have much, just these notifications from police: 

 

This is the second confirmed fatality tonight in Prince William County.

 

News
Motorcyclist killed in crash on Occoquan Road at G Street in Woodbridge

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Updated June 27, 2016

From Prince William police: 

Fatal Crash Investigation – On June 24 at 4:06PM, investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit responded to the area of Occoquan Rd and G St in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a two vehicle crash. The investigation revealed that the operator of a 2006 Yamaha R1 was traveling eastbound on Occoquan Rd in the above area at an excessive speed when he collided with the driver of a 2014 Nissan NV2500HD van. The operator of the Yamaha R1 was transported to an area hospital where he died as a result of his injuries. Minor injuries were reported by the driver of the 2014 Nissan NV2500HD van. Alcohol and drugs do not appear to be factors in this crash. The victim was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. The investigation continues. 

Identified:

The driver of the 2006 Yamaha R1 motorcycle was identified Javier VANEGAS MORATAYA, 23, of Woodbridge.

 

The driver of the 2014 Nissan NV2500HD van was identified was identified as 23 year old man of Woodbridge.

Update 6:55 p.m.

From Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok: 

…this will be a confirmed fatal. Motorcycle operator, an adult male, succumbed to inquiries from the crash. Other driver of a work van was not injured.

Police plan to provide more information on the crash on Monday.

Original post

Serious crash involving a motorcycle. That’s all we know right now. 

 

News
Next rounds of Metro SafeTrack work to impact Virginia commuters; PRTC plans temp changes

Dozens of OmniRide busses are lined up ready to go out on the afternoon runs at PRTC in Woodbridge.

PRTC will implement some temporary changes for the next phases of Metro SafeTrack work to impact Virginia commuters. 

Potomac Mills mall announced it would add some additional temporary commuter parking during the work. We asked Potomac Mills how many more spaces drivers could expect, but they didn’t respond.  A PRTC spokeswoman also didn’t have the information.

From a PRTC email: 

The third and fourth phases of WMATA’s SafeTrack work are scheduled to shut down a segment of the Blue and Yellow lines in Arlington and Alexandria. Visit Metro’s SafeTrack webpage for details about train frequency and shuttle buses.

   –From July 5 through July 11, there will be no rail service between Braddock Road and National Airport. 

   –From July 12 through July 18, there will be no rail service between National Airport and Pentagon City.

PRTC will implement a few minor changes (detailed below) to help PRTC and Metro passengers.

Also to assist during SafeTrack, Potomac Mills Mall will temporarily increase the number of spaces set aside for commuter parking starting on June 29.

 –Several evening trips on the Prince William Metro Direct route will leave later than scheduled, enabling more passengers to make connections. These accommodations will be in place only during these phases of SafeTrack.

The 7:45 p.m. weekday trip will depart the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station at 7:55 p.m.

The 10:40 p.m. weekday trip – the last trip of the night – will depart the Metro station at 10:55 p.m.

The 10:35 p.m. Saturday trip – the last trip of the night – will depart the Metro station at 10:50 p.m.

   –Eastern Prince William County residents may want to ride one of the many PRTC OmniRide buses to the Pentagon, Crystal City orRosslyn-Ballston and transfer to Metrobus, Arlington Transit bus or Alexandria DASH bus.

   –Those who travel mid-day should consider PRTC’s Dale City – Washington OmniRide MX-1 trip, which leaves PRTC at 11:05 a.m. and picks up passengers at the Route 123/ I-95 Commuter Lot before traveling straight to multiple destinations in downtown D.C. 

Potomac Local Poll 

This poll has ended.

Has your commute gotten worse because of Metro's SafeTrack repair program? 

News
Medivac called after Hylton Avenue crash

Submitted by @Surveillance911:




News
Big changes coming for OmniLink buses

New OmniLink buses that serve Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park. The buses have a new look more aligned with the overall color scheme for the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission. [Submitted photo]

PRTC sent us a list of upcoming changes to its commuter and local bus systems starting July 5: 

PRTC’s Service Change and fare increase will take place Tuesday, July 5. This Service Change includes the service reductions that were publicized earlier in the year during the FY 2017 budget public hearing process. New timetables are now available atwww.PRTCtransit.org. New schedule brochures will be available from operators upon request beginning Tuesday, June 28.

A comprehensive list of all the changes is available on our website.

OmniRide: **Service for most OmniRide routes will be reduced on Fridays. Modified Holiday service becomes no service for OmniRide buses.** There will be significant changes to most OmniRide routes.

Metro Direct: **Modified Holiday service becomes regular service for Metro Direct buses.** All Metro Direct routes will have significant changes. See detailed list here.

OmniLink: All OmniLink routes will have significant changes. See detailed list here.

Cross County Connector – Timetable changes; some service reductions.

 

The new fare structure will be:

OmniRide:

     -Cash $8.75

   -SmarTrip $6.50

   -Reduced Fare $4.35*

Metro Direct:

       -Cash $4.00

      -SmarTrip $3.25

      -Reduced Fare $2.00

OmniLink & Cross County Connector:

     -Cash $1.50

     -SmarTrip $1.50

     -Reduced Fare $0.75*

     -OmniLink Off-Route Trip Surcharge $1.50

     -10-pack of Tokens $15.00

     -Reduced Fare 10-pack of Tokens $7.50*

Day Pass – Valid for travel within the local service area (SmarTrip only):

     -SmarTrip $3.40

     -Reduced Fare $1.70*

Weekly Pass – Valid for travel within the local service area (SmarTrip only):

     -SmarTrip $13.65

     -Reduced Fare $6.80*

*Reduced fares are available to adults 60 years and older, persons with a disability, or persons presenting a valid Medicare card. Additional information about PRTC’s reduced fare policy is available at http://www.prtctransit.org/local-bus/fares.html.

More from PRTC Interim Director Eric Marx: 

A Message from the Interim Executive Director:

While PRTC is on the verge of reducing services and raising fares, I’m pleased to report that we have begun a two-phased strategic planning effort funded by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT). 

Phase I consists of developing recommendations for establishing alternative funding mechanisms and sources including:

—Reviewing and documenting the current state of practice for transit funding in the United States;

—Identifying potential funding opportunities that are not currently used by PRTC; and

—Recommending a number of strategies based on evaluation of the information gathered during plan development.  

The Phase I analysis will identify both short-term funding sources, necessary to reduce/eliminate the agency’s remaining average annual $2.2 million shortfall, and sources and strategies to ensure long-term (5+ years) sustainability/growth. 

Phase II will develop a strategic plan to guide PRTC’s provision of transit and other Transportation Demand Management (TDM) services through the year 2030. This new plan will build upon and update several documents that have guided PRTC over the past decade. Among the items that will be addressed are:

—Ensuring the sustainability of current services;

—Determining existing service gaps;

—Examining alternative methods of service provision; and

—Developing a framework for future growth.

Recognizing PRTC’s role in both the regional and local transportation networks, this effort will consider significant trends and planned changes within and outside of the three PRTC bus-sponsoring jurisdictions, and will be in keeping with PRTC’s stated mission and the values and goals expressed in those jurisdictions’ plans.

Phase I results are expected in August; Phase II work will begin in July.  PRTC anticipates the plan’s development will involve significant general public, customer, and stakeholder participation, and the PRTC Board of Commissioners has already established a project steering committee. 

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