Traffic & Transit

System 2040 plan maps out changes for VRE service

121212 VRE

The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) has a plan that includes adding train lines, stations, and even reverse commute capabilities.

While mass transit is one of the major methods that many area residents use to get to work in the area, there is still a lot of congestion that VRE is trying to combat, according to Director of Public Affairs Bryan Jungwirth.

In order to handle congestion and provide more service to riders, VRE has created a System 2040 plan with service improvements and additions up through the year 2040.

One big component of the plan is reverse commuting, which would alleviate some congestion on the roads for commuters coming in to Prince William and Manassas for work.

Currently there are only three trains that are classified as a reverse commute, according to Jungwirth – one from Union Station in Washington, D.C. at 6:25 a.m. to Broad Run, an additional Union Station to Broad Run in the afternoon and a Broad Run to Union Station train in the afternoon.

“We’ve got some trains that actually can be characterized as a reverse commute, and they’re on the Manassas line,” said Jungwirth.

In the immediate future, VRE will be adding more cars to existing trains.

“The best things we’re definitely going to do – max by 2017 – are adding more cars onto more trains and make the trains longer, which will increase capacity. And that will help with the whole [Route] 66 construction issue,” Jungwirth commented.

There are several station expansions and new platforms on the agenda from VRE, with a Fredericksburg train line being added this summer and Gainesville-Haymarket extension coming, said Jungwirth.

Also coming up in the next few years, are VRE’s plans to add two more tracks and potentially adding a line that goes from Manassas to Alexandria.

“[System 2040] tries to address all of this different elements, because we’re going to need two more tracks going across the Potomac [River] – so either a new bridge or the extension to the existing long bridge. And then we need more train storage up in the [Washington] D.C. area, and we’re looking to expanding where we store our trains. Parking lot expansions – we’re looking at those as well…We could potentially get additional capacity on the Manassas line…we’ve thought about ways we could run more service on the Manassas line and doing what we call a fish-hook kind of service to Alexandria, but it would take a lot of construction to make it even feasible,” said Jungwirth.

Reverse commuting capabilities should start to become a bigger focus towards the end of the System 2040 plan, said Jungwirth.

“I won’t say that reverse commutes aren’t on our list of things to do, because it is in the System 2040 plan, but it’s the latter part of the plan, so we’re talking out to 2030, 2040…all of these other infrastructure improvements would need to occur before that were to happen,” said Jungwirth.

County supervisors talk on how to address $9M PRTC shortfall

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

County supervisors are talking about ways to handle the Potomac and Rapphannock Transportation Commission’s (PRTC) $9 million dollar annual shortfall.

PRTC provides bus and rail service for residents in Prince William, Manassas and Stafford, including commuter, cross-county and local bus service.

According to PRTC’s Interim Executive Director Eric Marx, the organization is facing this large shortfall and may have to make some drastic cuts to service – including eliminating all local service or severely limiting commuter service – unless additional funding can be found.

Currently PRTC’s revenue sources include some federal and state funds, and a 2.1% motor fuels tax. Previously, the board of county supervisors chipped in money from the general fund, but stopped doing so after the recession hit the county in 2008.

An independent audit, and more talks

Marx has met with the supervisors to discuss the shortfall, and the board’s first step has been to call for an independent audit of PRTC and their budget, to see if efficiencies and cost savings can be found.

“There is an audit that Prince William County is planning, to have their independent auditing firm perform on PRTC, regarding our performance…it will be a way that the county can sort of independently determine how well we are doing. We can say everything we want about how efficient we are, and how productive we are…but having and independent process [provides] verification,” said Marx.

The audit will take place this fall, according to Marx.

While Marx stated that the three scenarios that PRTC has offered to address the shortfall are very real, they were meant to be broad and will receive much tweaking from the board.

 “I’ve spoken with most of the [supervisors]…and all of them have listened attentively and asked some questions. But [we’re] really not at a point that people are making declarations one way or the other. There are three very broad scenarios, developed to illustrate what the extremes would be in terms of how many cuts would need to be made in order to achieve [certain] levels of savings. I suspect that none of those will be implemented exactly as they are…I suspect there will be a fair amount of give or take, with the policy guidance from the elected officials and the board of county supervisors and the county finance staff,” said Marx.

Supervisors share their thoughts

Potomac Local reached out to the county board of supervisors for their thoughts on how to handle the PRTC shortfall.

For Supervisor Mike May, addressing the board’s previous general fund contribution is on the table.

“It’s a significant amount of money and I don’t think the board is going to be able to be in a position to completely backfill a $9 million shortfall. There is a history of using general fund monies to supplement PRTC, and that probably makes some amount of sense – depending on of course, the amount. Historically, it’s been $1 to $1.5 million dollars, and so there’s a significant difference between that and the $9 million shortfall,” said May.

Additionally, May stated that none of the scenarios to cut service that PRTC has put forward would seriously be considered.

“All three scenarios are essentially non-starters. But those all assume a $9 million shortfall, and PRTC resolving it with some level of reductions. I don’t think any of the three will be met with a whole lot of support from the board,” said May.

Supervisor Maureen Caddigan stated that many of her constituents rely on PRTC and that not finding funding sources for PRTC’s shortfall would have a major impact on transit in the area.

 “We need transportation, obviously. If you look at Route 1, and [Interstate] 95 and certainly [Route] 66 – where the jobs are…and the traffic is horrendous, so we need [public] transportation to get people around. The OmniRide is doing wonderful, people are really happy…the concern with some of the money now that is needed is for OmniLink. And OmniLink does take care of our neediest people – the people that don’t have cars…it’s expensive to run the buses, so we are taking a look at it…Route 1 – that is my greatest concern. People get off of 95 and they get onto Route 1, and the traffic is terrible, so I would not cut out any kind of transportation to get people around,” said Caddigan.

According to Supervisor John Jenkins, the General Assembly should play a role in solving the shortfall by putting a floor on the motor fuels tax – one of PRTC’s major funding sources.

“We have a corporate responsibility, with other jurisdictions, and so it’s not one of these things where you can just say, ‘You know, we’re not going to fund it.’ There are two or three options we’re going to look at in the future. We have, over the years, in Prince William County, funded from the general fund, a little bit of the operation of the transportation systems, but I don’t think we can continue to do that in the current scenario. The General Assembly could put a floor on the amount of [motor fuels] tax that’s being cut. One of the things I would like to see done would be for the state General Assembly to come in there and come and give us some real, meaningful revenues to help operate this transit system,” Jenkins said.

May also mentioned seeking outside funding sources, including the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA), but that ultimately there would have to be some cuts at PRTC.

“I’m open to working with my colleagues to try and identify funding to help with some of that. I also think we should probably take a look at the possibility of using NVTA funds for a portion of that as well, but there’s probably going to have to be some reductions made on the PRTC side as well,” May commented.

Marx stated that public hearings could be held in the future to hear from county residents, as to how to address the $9 million shortfall.

Changes to 95 Express Lanes schedule for July 4 weekend

On the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, expect to see some changes to the 95 Express Lanes schedule.

According to Transurban – the company that owns and operates the Express Lanes -the lane schedule is being modified on July 4 and July 5 to make it easier for drivers to see the fireworks displays in Washington D.C., and for drivers to return from out of town travel.

More on the schedule changes from Transurban:

Friday, July 3:  No changes to reversal time.  The reversal from northbound (NB) to southbound (SB) will begin around 11 a.m. with the SB lanes open around 1 p.m.  

Saturday, July 4: 

Reversal from SB to NB will begin at midnight with the NB lanes open around 2 a.m.

Reversal from NB to SB will begin around 7 p.m. with the SB lanes open around 9 p.m.

Sunday, July 5:  Reversal from SB to NB will at midnight with the NB lanes open around 2 a.m.

Monday, July 6:  No changes to reversal time.  The reversal from NB to SB will begin around 11 a.m. with the SB lanes open around 1 p.m.  

Automated cars to be tested on 495, 95 Express Lanes

Expect to see automated vehicles on 495 and 95 Express Lanes in the coming months.

Following a proclamation from Governor McAuliffe on June 2, organizations including Transurban and Virginia Tech’s Transportation Institute (VTTI), have moved forward on researching and testing automated vehicles.

The project is being called the Virginia Automated Corridors Initiative.

“Automatic-vehicles are the future, and our Commonwealth’s long history in military and private automated and unmanned systems has poised Virginia to lead the way,” said Governor McAuliffe. “As we work to build a new Virginia economy, we have a tremendous opportunity to provide car companies and suppliers of automated vehicles the ideal, real-world environments they need to test complex scenarios prior to putting their vehicles on more roadways,” McAuliffe stated in the proclamation.

According to Transurban spokesman Mike McGurk, the 495 and 95 Express Lanes will be used for testing the automated vehicles.

“What we offered up, in conversations with VDOT and Virginia Tech, is use of our facilities on 495 and 95 [Express Lanes] for the testing of these vehicles,” said McGurk.

Myra Blanco, who works out of VTTI’s Center for Automated Vehicle Systems, stated that the research into vehicle automation has been going on for a long time, but the Governor’s proclamation has given them the green-light on roads in Virginia.

“We have been doing research for a long time, on different levels for vehicle automation…this project was part of the Governor’s proclamation to allow us to do vehicle automation related research on Virginia roads,” said Blanco.

While many people picture cars that can completely drive users on their own, Blanco stated that the technology is not there yet.

“We currently have features in the vehicles that are automated. For example, it’s called ACC – it’s a more advanced type of cruise control…it allows the vehicle to stay within the lane. What people tend to think of are fully automated vehicles. That’s when they start calling them autonomous vehicles – that would be in the future…we’re not there yet. The next [automation] progression would be changing lanes. There’s a lot of research going on, on those types of use cases,” said Blanco.

McGurk stated that the Express Lanes are perfect for testing the vehicles because their industries are similar, and the lanes allow Transurban to create a closed system for testing that won’t impede drivers.

“We’re excited about this technology. In the very long term future, we could possibly see further applications…it’s at the leading forefront of transportation technology and we consider ourselves in that same realm, so we wanted to be supportive,” McGurk said.

McGurk stated there is no firm timeline to begin testing the vehicles on the lanes currently.

Will a $9 million deficit end PRTC bus service in Prince William?

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

Transit bus services in Prince William County are on the chopping block.

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC) currently operates commuter and local bus service for residents in Prince William, Stafford, Manassas, and Manassas Park.

According to PRTC documents, the commuter buses service 7,400 passengers a day, their cross-county services 1,900 a day and their local bus routes service 3,700 residents a day.

The commuter services cover 13 routes and the local services cover six routes.

Many residents rely on PRTC’s services for commuting into Washington D.C. and surrounding areas. It is also a main mode of transport for residents on the local routes.

But right now, PRTC is in financial trouble and is facing a sizable financial shortfall.

It’s $9 million a year, to be exact, according to PRTC’s Interim Executive Director Eric Marx.

“In addition to the fact that we weren’t getting any local supplement – we’ve lost $1.3 million in annual federal funds…the fuel prices have fallen…the result is we’re facing a $7 million shortfall, starting early sometime in fiscal [year] 2017. And it goes up to $9 million [annually] thereafter,” said Marx.

What are PRTC’s funding sources?

PRTC has several funding sources that make up their operational budget, including state and federal funds.

Prince William County’s board of supervisors is also expected to put forward funds for the services, as a majority of the users are county residents, stated PRTC documents.

Another major funding source is the 2.1% motor fuels tax that the county provides to PRTC.

The problem with such a large amount of PRTC’s funding coming from the motor fuels tax is that it varies widely from year to year, based on gas prices. So, the higher the gas prices for drivers, the more PRTC has from the tax revenue to use for their operational budget.

PRTC documents stated that there is a $21 million annual cost for bus and rail services (PRTC also has a hand in Virginia Railway Express operations), but the motor fuels tax revenue alone only raised $12 million – a 25% decrease from last year.

In the past, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors supplemented part of PRTC’s budget with money from the General Fund, which is funded with county tax dollars. The board stopped providing that money  in 2008 when the recession hit.

“The reality is that Prince William County did put money from the General fund [into PRTC] for years and years, but when the recession came along, they cut it out. We had a fuel tax reserve built up at that point…and we were in pretty decent shape at that point. Now we are not,” Marx stated.

What are the solutions?

With a $9 million annual shortfall looming, PRTC needed to come up with potential solutions.

According to Marx, there are three scenarios.

PRTC documents stated that the first scenario would involve cutting services for commuter and local services by 35% across the board. This means there would be fewer buses across the board for commuter, cross-county and local services.

The second scenario would eliminate all local bus services from PRTC’s lineup. And the third scenario would involve cutting all local bus services, as well as cutting any remaining bus services in half.

Marx stated that only the third scenario would allow PRTC to account for the $9 million shortfall in their budget.

Additionally, Marx stated that there was no way to cut expenditures further, or find some savings within their current operational budget.

“We’ve even gone through trims to make sure that we continue to be as efficient as we can be, and make sure that we’re doing the best we can with the resources we’ve got,” said Marx.

Who will it impact?

If the PRTC implements any of the three scenarios, it could negatively impact several Prince William residents.

Commuters would have to turn to alternative methods to get to work, including taking their cars on the road – furthering the congestion issue in the area.

And for those that rely on local bus service as their sole means for transportation, it could have a huge impact.

“If we turn to significant cuts…what would it do? If you take out the local component [of service] – it changes the game,” said Marx.

PRTC cutting their services could also impact residents in some ways they wouldn’t expect – like the bus service’s connection to the Virginia Railway Express (VRE), according to VRE Director of Public Affairs Bryan Jungwirth.

“If transit services are curtailed in this region, it could have a dramatic effect on roadway demand and congestion. The buses are used as a feeder-service as well [for the VRE] on both ends, for many of our riders, so it’s a concern if PRTC were to curtail service – there’d be concern for VRE as well,” Jungwirth said.

What can the local government and community do?

During a presentation given by Marx at the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, he called out the board of supervisors and stated that they are a crucial piece of correcting PRTC’s shortfall.

“Here’s the $7 million question – why not just add more bus service? There’s so much need, why don’t we put it out there? The answer is – it doesn’t turn a profit, it’s a public good…the user fees just don’t cover the full cost and they can’t…It’s completely a local policy decision as to how much [bus] service is going to be provided. There’s nobody out there saying, ‘you have to provide X amount of service.’ There’s no federal requirement, there’s no state requirement. It’s purely a local decision as to how much they want to put out there, and what needs they want to serve,” said Marx.

Additionally, Marx pointed to the county’s affluence on a national level, and asserted that the county has a choice to provide funding for their resident’s transportation needs.

“Question whether the 12th or 9th (depending on the source) wealthiest US county truly can’t afford a respectable community transit system,” said Marx.

Crash stalls Vint Hill Road traffic

A crash on Vint Hill Road in near Gainesville stalled traffic about 5:30 p.m.
A crash on Vint Hill Road in near Gainesville stalled traffic about 5:30 p.m.
A crash on Vint Hill Road in near Gainesville stalled traffic about 5:30 p.m.
A crash on Vint Hill Road in near Gainesville stalled traffic about 5:30 p.m.

A portion of the southbound lane of Vint Hill Road at was closed a Burwell Road after a crash occurred.

Police directed Vint Hill Road traffic through the parking lot of the Greenwich Presbyterian Church about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. At least two vehicles were involved in the crash — a silver sedan and an SUV.

The crash occurred near the Prince William County / Fauquier County line, near Gainesville.

Purple stripes coming to 495, 95 Express Lanes

Starting at the end of June, there will be purple lane striping added to the entry points on 495 and 95 Express Lanes.

According to a release from Transurban, the company that owns and operates the lanes, the new stripes will be added to the inside of the existing stripes at entry points.

The reason for the new lane striping is to minimize confusion for drivers, so they can better distinguish between Express Lanes and the regular Beltway and Interstate 95 lanes.

More on the striping locations from Transurban:

95 Express Lanes
Northbound: 
95 Express Lanes entrance near Dumfries Road
95 Express Lanes entrance near Cardinal Drive
95 Express Lanes entrance near Franconia-Springfield Parkway

Southbound: 
95 Express Lanes entrance between Lorton Road and Route 123
95 Express Lanes entrance north of Edsall Road

495 Express Lanes: 
Northbound 495 Express Lanes entrance near I-95/395/495 interchange
Regular Capital Beltway lanes between the southbound 495 Express Lanes exit and 95 Express Lanes entrance

Closures on Route 28 continue for $69M widening project

vdotlogo600pixelsRoute 28 between Bristow Village Boulevard and Battalion Square will be closed in both directions again this weekend.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews will continue work on a new storm sewer line.

The installation of the line is part of the $69.9 million widening project being done on Route 28.

More on the project from VDOT:

Phase One, which involves relocating Vint Hill Road to Route 28’s intersection with Infantry Lane and widening Route 28 to six lanes between Linton Hall Road and the relocated Vint Hill Road, is scheduled for completion in July 2016. Construction of Phase Two, which involves widening Route 28 to four lanes between the relocated Vint Hill Road and Fitzwater Drive, is scheduled to begin in March 2016 and has an estimated completion date of December 2017.

During the closure, all traffic will be detoured via Fitzwater Drive, Kettle Run Road and Vint Hill Road, stated VDOT.

More on closure times from VDOT:

10 p.m. Friday, June 19 to 5 a.m. Saturday, June 20
10 p.m. Saturday, June 20 to 5 a.m. Sunday, June 21
10 p.m. Sunday, June 21 to 4 a.m. Monday, June 22

Uber makes play for Woodbridge drivers

uber drivers woodbridge

The car taxi service Uber is pushing further into the suburbs.

An Uber driver set up shop under a tent at a Silver Diner restaurant on Smoketown Road in Woodbridge on Tuesday to recruit new drivers. In exchange for signing up to drive for Uber, the company agreed to give new recruits a $50 gas card.

The taxi service relies on the Uber smartphone app that allows users to see which Uber drivers are close by, hail them for a ride, and then use the app to conduct a cashless transaction to pay their fare. The company charges about a dollar per mile, so a fare from Woodbridge to the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station costs about $20.

Uber is popular in more urban areas such as Washington, D.C. and Arlington. The company wants more people in Woodbridge and other exurbs of Washington to drive for the service in hopes more customers will choose to use Uber.

The company actively recruits drivers by allowing them to drive on their own time, set their own hours, advertising the job as a great way to make extra income outside their regular job.

Cab companies have argued Uber drivers aren’t regulated like their drivers, and that the company has an unfair advantage. New legislation signed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe now requires Uber drivers, and drivers at its counterpart Lyft, to be at least 21 years old, undergo a background check, and have up to $1 million in insurance in order to drive.

Wellington Road closed at railroad crossing June 16 & 17

Heads up if you travel Wellington Road in Manassas. A portion of the thorughfare will close to traffic today June 16 and tomorrow June 17. 

There will be  detours in place to route you around the closure. Manassas city officials said plan ahead before you begin your trip.

Road to close for $2.8M bridge replacement in Prince William

Startiimage004ng June 22, a portion of Brentsville Road will be closed for six months.

According to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the road will be closed in order to complete a $2.8 million project to replace the bridge over Broad Run.

Mehrdad Naderi, the area construction engineer, said that the road will be closed off for 100-feet on either side of the bridge area, but that drivers will be able to access other parts of the road.

The current bridge was built in 1957. After assessing the bridge, VDOT declared that it was in poor to fair condition. VDOT will be replacing the superstructure of the bridge and repairing the substructure, according to a release.

During the six month period, drivers will be detoured using Lucasville Road, Godwin Drive, Clover Hill Road, Dumfries Road (Rt. 234) and Prince William Parkway.

Here’s a map of the detour route.

The project is set to be completed in December.

VDOT will be hosting a public meeting on the project on June 17 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Brentsville District High School in Nokesville.

Manassas airport will now bring international tourists to the area

The Manassas Regional Airport will become a regular stop for charter service – bringing international tourists to the region.

According to a city release, Air Charter Express (ACE) will begin using the airport as a stop for their passenger division of Freight Runners Express, Inc.

The Manassas airport is actually the busiest municipal airport in Virginia, with more than 415 aircraft. It brings in around $235 million a year.

“Manassas Regional Airport serves a vital role in promoting economic development and tourism for the Greater Manassas region as well as the City of Manassas. We welcome Air Charter Express to the community of businesses that are utilizing the Manassas Regional Airport as a cost effective way into the Capital region,” said City Manager W. Patrick Pate.  

PRTC to change service, increase fares July 6

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation (PRTC) will be changing their bus service and increasing fares, starting July 6.

According to a release, PRTC will be making some large changes that will be reflected in their rider guide including new routes for buses in Crystal City because of the new Crystal City Transitway.

There will also be new routes for the Dale City – Washington OmniRide bus route. PRTC stated that the route will now begin and end at the Dale City Commuter Lot, eliminating service to the Lindendale Commuter lot and all stops between the two lots.

Additionally, PRTC will be eliminating the Route 1 OmniRide route.

Along with the change to PRTC bus service, there will be new fare prices.

According to PRTC, new one-way fares are:

OmniRide commuter bus – $8.30 cash or $6.20 with a SmarTrip card
Metro Direct – $3.85 cash or $3.10 with a SmarTrip card
OmniLink and Cross County Connector local bus services – $1.40 cash and SmarTrip, Day Pass – $3.25, Weekly Pass – $13.00.
Reduced fares continue to be half the regular fare for customers traveling during eligible times who are 60 or older, have a disability, and/or have a valid Medicare card.

New bus service schedules will be available on June 29.

MyLink teen passes on sale, provide unlimited summer rides

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]

The MyLink Teen Summer Pass is on sale. The pass allows teenagers unlimited rides on OmniLink buses in Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park between now and Sept. 1, 2015.

The pass costs $30 and is on sale at the following locations:

Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission Transit Center, located at 14700 Potomac Mills Road in Woodbridge, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to  7 p.m.

Chinn Aquatics and Fitness Center, located at 13025 Chinn Park Drive in Woodbridge, Monday through Thursday 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sharron Baucom — Dale City Recreation Center, located at 14300 Minnieville Road in Dale City, Monday through Friday 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Cash or credit only.

Ben Lomond Community Center, located at 10501 Copeland Drive in Manassas, Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cash or credit only.

Manassas City Hall Treasurer’s Office, located at 9027 Center Street in Manassas, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cash only.

OmniLink provides bus service along major routes in the area, including Route 1 in Woodbridge, Dale Boulevard in Dale City, as well as major routes in Lake Ridge, Manassas, and Manassas Park.

Those who purchase a My Link Teen Bus Pass will also receive discounts good for $1 off general admission to Potomac Nationals games, $2 off public skating at the Prince William Ice Center in Dale City, up to five free games per day at Bowl America, located at 13409 Occoquan Road in Woodbridge, and $1 off general admission to Stonewall Pool in Manassas.

Riders must be between the ages of 13 and 19 years old to use the pass. Teenagers use the pass to get rides to summer jobs, shopping centers, recreation centers, and libraries, according to a Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission press release.

Order a cab from your phone in Prince William

Yellow Cab Prince William has partnered with Gata Labs and have a released a free phone app that allows residents to book cab rides with one click.

The app became live this May, and was done in response to the huge success of other ride sharing platforms like Uber and Lyft, which were taking a huge chunk of cab companies business.

“We partnered with Yellow Cab Prince William County because they’re the premier service provider in the area. We already have partners in over 100 different cities around North America. What we’re doing is trying to provide the technology and work with [cab] fleets, instead of against fleets – like Uber does. We’re trying to help these companies combat these new mobile focused competitors like Uber and Lyft,” said Gata Labs President Simon Bourgeois.

According to Bourgeois, using the app can be done with one touch of a button. The app uses GPS tracking to find a customer’s location, and it will give the customer a time estimate for their cab’s arrival, said Bourgeois.

Additionally, the app comes with a fare estimate feature, so that users can plan ahead for their travel costs.

Tammy Beard, a spokeswoman for Yellow Cab Prince William, stated it was important for the company to offer an app in order to help their customers easily secure a safe ride.

“Our commitment to keeping our company outfitted with all the latest technology has never been stronger.  With competitors that are more loosely licensed or not licensed at all, technology that enables our customers to place an order for service with ease is a must. Although we have our own app (PWC Booking) and will soon begin participating in a third, we feel that the more we get our company out there the better we will be able to serve the citizens and visitors of Prince William County,” stated Beard.

The app is currently available in the iTunes App store and the Google Play store.

Changes coming to Stafford commuter lot

The Virginia Departmevdotlogo600pixelsnt of Transportation (VDOT) is proposing that new signs and a pickup area for HOV carpooling be added to the Staffordboro commuter lot in Stafford.

According to VDOT, the lot was observed and there was a survey given to users of the lot that slug using the HOV lanes that helped them to determine that changes needed to be made.

Here are the improvements proposed by VDOT:

Destination signs for the Pentagon, Crystal City, and Rosslyn lines

New, separate HOV carpooling pickup area for Rosslyn sluggers

Crosswalks spanning the lot’s central access road

View an online map of the proposed changes 

“We received more than 60 responses to our online survey about slugging and congestion near the HOV carpooling area. Many commuters requested better signage to identify HOV carpooling destinations, and suggested space for an additional HOV carpooling pickup area in the Staffordboro lot. We have proposed these changes to provide better direction in the lot, and to reduce minor congestion in the HOV carpooling pickup line,” said Sean Nelson, VDOT Fredericksburg Residency Administrator, in a release.

See the new traffic pattern at I-66 in Gainesville

New Gainesville interchange   YouTube

Traffic exiting Interstate 66 west for Route 29, and drivers traveling Route 29 south woke up to a new traffic pattern this morning.

A newly opened bridge now carries drivers exiting the Interstate highway and Route 29 over a railroad. Drivers exiting Route 66 head to Route 29 south toward Warrenton and Charlottesville are urged to keep left on the new ramp and bridge.

The new bridge also carries drivers headed for Haymarket via Route 55, and drivers headed for Linton Hall Road.  Drivers headed in that direction are urged to keep right on the ramp and bridge.

The work is part of a $230 million project that puts new infrastructure in place in the busy section of Gainesville. It eliminated the need for drivers to drive over a set of train tracks that crossed Routes 29 and 55.

Construction, detours expected for road projects in Gainesville

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Expect to see some changes on the roadways in Gainesville over the next few weeks.

As part of a $230 million project, starting overnight on May 26, traffic traveling on the southbound lanes on Route 29 between I-66 and Linton Hall Road will now be moved on to the newly built bridge, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). The new bridge crosses over the railroad track.

According to VDOT, the ramp that goes from eastbound I-66 to southbound Route 29 will also be reopened.

Additionally, VDOT is working to remove the traffic signal at Route 29 and Linton Hall Road, with all of the traffic on the Linton Hall/Route 55 section being moved to the new overpass.

After the shifts in traffic have been completed, crews will complete the ramps from Route 55 over to the southbound lanes of Route 29, as well as from northbound lanes on Route 29 to Linton Hall Road, said VDOT.

The ramp completion will cause some detours for drivers in the area.

According to a release from VDOT, drivers heading northbound on Route 29 to eastbound Linton Hall Road, and eastbound from Route 55 to southbound on Route 29 will all use temporary detour ramps.

Also, drivers going westbound on Linton Hall Road, headed to southbound Route 29 will be detoured to Wellington Road and University Boulevard, said VDOT.

The project is expected to be completed this summer.

VRE honors board members in ceremony at Broad Run

Operations Board Recog 1

On May 16, the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) honored several board members at the Broad Run Station in Bristow.

Here’s more information from the VRE on the honorees:

Honorees were:

  • Edwin King – Prince William County (Original Member)
  • James Hugh Payne Sr. – City of Manassas (First Elected City of Manassas Member)
  • Bernard Cohen – VA House of Delegates (Original Member)
  • Bob Gibbons – Stafford County (First Elected Stafford Member)
  • Sally H. Cooper – VDOT (Original Member)
  • Sharon Bulova – Fairfax County (Original and Continuously Serving Member)
  • John Jenkins – Prince William County (Long Serving Member)
  • Hilda Barg – Prince William County (Long Serving Member)
  • Elaine McConnell – Fairfax County (Long Serving Member)

“Honoring these Operations Board Members is a gesture of the appreciation we have for the leadership and public service they provided in creating and shaping VRE,” said John C. Cook, Operations Board Chairman of VRE and Fairfax County Supervisor.

The VRE Operations Board will consider additional honorees on an annual basis.

 

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