Earlier today, we told you about some Virginia Railway Express riders who were left out in the cold as they tried to make it home during yesterday’s snowstorm.
The commuter railroad released a statement about why that happened. And now OmniRide, the region’s commuter bus service provider, says it also fell short yesterday in its efforts to provide bus service to federal workers who live in Prince William and Stafford counties.
You’ll remember that the Federal Government closed about 1 p.m. due to snowfall in the region.
OmniRide email to riders | Yesterday, OmniRide implemented our Emergency Service Plan in response to the Office of Personnel Management’s decision to close Federal offices early due to forecasts calling for a winter weather event.
While the nature of our Express service can make it difficult to respond with complete effectiveness when the federal government closes on short notice, we did not deliver the level of service that our riders expect and deserve. We understand the inconvenience and frustration experienced by our riders and will strive to do better for our riders in the future.
After a regional weather conference call yesterday morning, OPM announced their decision for an early closure. We immediately began calling on our bus operators to get as many to return to work early as possible. All available operators and buses were dispatched to the Metro Stations, but we were unable to provide enough resources to meet the initial passenger loads.
Providing enough service to accommodate an entire rush hours’ worth of passengers in such a short amount of time poses a significant challenge. We are in the process of reviewing yesterday’s early afternoon service to determine what more we could do to improve our response in these situations, how we communicate with our riders, and ensure that we can maximize our resources to minimize the impact on our riders.
We are committed to providing the safe and reliable bus service you deserve and will continue working with regional agencies, including OPM, to do a better job responding to these events in the future.