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The many benefits of a healthcare system committed to community

Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center is committed to our community.

For the last 45 years, Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center has been devoted to our patients and their care. We take our role as a nonprofit healthcare provider very seriously, never turning away anyone in need.

Our mission is exemplified through our Family Health Connections Mobile vans that provide free and sliding scale healthcare to working families 200 percent below the poverty line, who wouldn’t otherwise receive care. The Sentara 3D digital mobile mammography van travels to community sites around Northern Virginia to provide accessible mammograms.

We partner with many organizations, such as the National Coalition of 100 Black Women to provide cancer and diabetes awareness, which includes health screenings. Members of the team are also actively involved in community charity activities such as the March of Dimes walk, United Way Day of Caring, ACTS iWalk, and the American Cancer Association to name a few.

Thank you for your ongoing trust, confidence, and partnership. We look forward to working together to create a healthier, stronger community and improve health every day.

Visit Sentara Healthcare’s Community Benefit Report to learn more.

Body of missing 24-year-old man found in Occoquan

OCCOQUAN — Police said the body of a missing Woodbridge man was found floating in the Occoquan River early this morning. 

The man’s car was found was found two days earlier on Interstate 95, parked on a bridge over the river. 

More in a press release: 

Death Investigation – On August 6 at approximately 8:00AM, officers recovered the body of Miguel Angel Sanchez in the Occoquan River. Miguel was reported to police as missing and endangered by family members on August 4 after he sent concerning messages to a friend.
Later that day, Miguel’s unattended vehicle was located by VDOT on the I-95 bridge over the Occoquan River. Over the weekend, police conducted several searches of the river and area around where Miguel’s vehicle was located.
Miguel was not located at that time. The body was located the morning of August 6 by a citizen. The body will be transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Manassas for an autopsy. At this time, there is no indications of foul play or need for public concern. The investigation continues.
The deceased was identified as Miguel Angel SANCHEZ, 24, of Woodbridge

1 in custody following homicide on Arizona Avenue

From Prince William police: 

Murder Investigation *ARREST – On August 2, detectives from the Homicide Unit identified and arrested the suspect involved in the shooting death of an adult male that occurred at a residence located in the 14700 block of Arizona Ave in Woodbridge (22191) on August 1. The investigation revealed that the victim and the suspect were on the back deck of the home when the shooting occurred. The victim died as a result of his injuries.

Detectives are still investigating the incident to determine what led up to the altercation between the accused and the victim. Both men were known to one another. The victim has been identified as a 22-year-old man. Detectives are awaiting contact with a next-of-kin before the victim’s identity is publically released. Following the investigation, the accused, identified as Jorge Anthony SANDOVAL, was arrested.

The investigation continues.

                Arrested on August 2:

                Jorge Anthony SANDOVAL, 19, of 15015 Alabama Ave in Woodbridge

                Charged with murder

                Court Date: September 19, 2018 | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

Robbery suspect tries to hit same store in two days, police said

DALE CITY — A man who allegedly robbed a 7-Eleven on Tuesday aparently tried to rob the same store again the following day. 

Prince William police on Wednesday were back at the 7-Eleven at 14410 Minnieville Road, at the intersection of Cardinal Drive., where arrested their suspect. 

More in a press release: 

Armed Robbery *ARREST – On August 1 at 1:59PM, officers responded to the 7-Eleven located at 14410 Minnieville Rd in Woodbridge (22193) to investigate a suspicious person. An employee reported to police that the suspect from a robbery at the store the day before had walked into the store and was standing in the checkout line.
The employee was able to exit the store and contact police. Several detectives were driving in the area when the call was received and arrived in less than two minutes. When detectives entered the store, they challenged the suspect who was still standing in line and had a handgun in his hand.
The suspect was detained without incident and the handgun was recovered. Further investigation determined that the suspect was planning to rob the store again before being detained by the detectives. Following the investigation, detectives with the Robbery Unit charged the accused, identified as Yuma RUSTA.
Arrested on August 1:

Yuma RUSTA, 23, of 13361 Ferry Landing Ln in Woodbridge
Charged with 1 count of robbery, 1 count of attempted robbery, and 2 counts of use of a firearm in commission of a felony
Court Date: September 19, 2018 | Bond: Held WITHOUT bond

On Tuedsay, police said the supsect walked into the 7-Eleven, displayed a gun, and then made off with cash.

Man shot, killed inside home on Arizona Avenue in Woodbridge

From a press release: 

Homicide Investigation – On August 1 at 10:38PM, officers responded to a residence located in the 14700 block of Arizona Ave in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a shooting.

Officers arrived on scene and located a male victim suffering from a gunshot wound. The victim, preliminarily believed to be an adult, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The victim’s body was transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Manassas for an autopsy and further analysis. The identity of the victim will be released once confirmed and a next-of-kin has been notified. At this time, no suspect has been identified.

Detectives from the Homicide Unit do not believe this is a random shooting. More information will be released when available. The investigation continues. 

Anyone with any information on this incident is asked to contact Prince William County Police at 703-792-6500.

Sentara pledges $130 million to EVMS

Sentara Healthcare will triple its financial support for Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) with a commitment of $130 million over the next five years. For the period 2018 through 2023, annual funding given by Sentara to EVMS will increase from a previous amount of $9 million per year to $26 million per year.

“After 46 years working together, the relationship between Sentara and EVMS has never been stronger,” said Sentara Board of Directors Chair, Henry U. ‘Sandy’ Harris. “Together, we are demonstrating the missions of both institutions and keeping the focus on patient care and innovation during this time of change in the health care landscape.”

“Sentara’s increased support will be transformational for our community,” said David Arias, Rector of the EVMS Board of Visitors. “It will boost the educational and research capacities of both organizations — advancing our reputations regionally and nationally while enhancing the quality of care and making a real impact on the lives of Hampton Roads residents.” 

The additional funds from Sentara will allow EVMS to establish new academic programs, bolster existing ones and continue to advance its status as a nationally recognized medical school while supporting the development of the two organizations’ shared medical campus in Norfolk as a quaternary mid-Atlantic regional medical center.

“Sentara and EVMS have worked together as partners serving eastern Virginia for over 45 years. These two great community institutions work hard to anticipate the evolving needs of the many communities we serve,” says Howard P. Kern, President and CEO of Sentara Healthcare. “We appreciate the exceptional physician and advanced practitioner graduates EVMS trains for our community, and we are proud to help them advance academic and research programs to help us both fulfill our community missions. It is Sentara’s hope that this increased funding will enable EVMS to move forward with its strategic plan to ensure their strength and stability long into the future.”

EVMS has been a community-based medical school since its inception in 1972. Under a long-standing partnership, Sentara hospitals provide clinical teaching environments for EVMS students and residents, especially at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, where EVMS physicians oversee the region’s only Level I trauma center and provide tertiary and quaternary-level services found in university-based regional academic medical centers.

“On behalf of the EVMS faculty, staff and students, I want to express our grateful appreciation to the Sentara Healthcare Board and management for their extraordinary support of our missions to educate and train the next generation of the healthcare workforce, advance medicine through new discovery, and provide care to those in greatest need,” said Richard V. Homan, MD, President and Provost, Eastern Virginia Medical School and Dean of the School of Medicine.

“I am confident that, through this increased funding, we have established a seminal and historic relationship between EVMS and Sentara which will support our faculty and provide many new and mutually beneficial programs to improve the health of the communities we serve.”

Funding from Sentara will support collaborative plans to establish the following EVMS initiatives:

— A Masters’ Degree program in Healthcare Analytics and Delivery Science supported by two full-time PhD faculty members to conduct research and performance improvement initiatives in healthcare disparities and population health management.

— The new collaborative Research Fund also will support translational research partnerships in biosciences and biotechnology research and development across multiple academic centers in Virginia and advance clinical best practice and outcomes research within the communities that we serve.

— $10.5M in endowments over three years through the EVMS Foundation to support endowed academic and clinical department chairs to support research and development of quaternary programs.

The Sentara mission to improve health every day ranges from providing Level I trauma services in partnership with EVMS to enhancing population health and disease management with innovative best practices through its clinical teams and Optima Health Plan. EVMS prides itself on its stated goal to be the most community-focused school of medicine and health professions in the nation while supporting world-renowned research in fertility, diabetes, and cancer.

Suspect called police after he sexually assaulted woman, police say

From Prince William police: 

Sexual Assault – On July 29 at 7:45AM, officers responded to the 3100 block of Chesapeake Dr in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a physical assault. The caller, later identified as the accused, initially reported to police that he was physically assaulted by two males while standing outside an apartment building in the above area.

As officers continued to investigate, the accused became uncooperative. Officers also determined that he was intoxicated. A short time later, two women approached officers and reported that the accused had just sexually assaulted one of them.

Further investigation determined that the accused was staying in an apartment in the area with the two women. Sometime that morning, the accused sexually assault one of the women while she was sleeping.

The second woman in the apartment caught the accused and confronted him then told him to leave the apartment. At some point after that, the accused contacted police. Following the investigation, the accused, identified as Dwayne Anthony ROBINSON, was arrested.

Arrested on July 29:
Dwayne Anthony ROBINSON, 54, of 2890 Chinkapin Oak Ln in Woodbridge
Charged with object sexual penetration, sodomy, and public intoxication
Court Date: September 18, 2018 | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

Lacking matching funds, Woodbridge ferry yet to be torpedoed and sunk

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Woman confronted by gunman, raped in Lake Ridge

LAKE RIDGE — Police are looking for the man they say raped a woman outside a Lake Ridge apartment complex off Springwoods Drive early Wednesday. 

The victim walked into the enclosed stairwell at what would otherwise be a garden-style condominium complex in the 12200 block of Stevenson Court at 6:05 a.m. to find a man with a gun. He tried to sexually assault her and eventually forced her outside where police say she was raped. 

More from Prince William police: 

Rape Investigation *UPDATE – The Prince William County Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in providing any information in connection to a sexual assault that occurred at an apartment building located in the 12200 block of Stevenson Ct in Woodbridge on July 25.

Detectives with the Special Victims Bureau are still actively investigating this incident and have determined that the victim was raped. The unknown suspect also took the victim’s grey windbreaker jacket.

Detectives will continue to be in the area conducting a canvass for any information leading to the identity of the suspect involved. Additional information will be released when available. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Prince William County police at 703-792-6500.

UPDATED Suspect Description:

Black male, between 25-30 years of age, 5’10”, heavy build with a “beer belly”, short black afro, with a half sleeve tattoo containing writing and angel wings on his right arm.

Last seen wearing a white t-shirt and white with black “Jordan” tennis shoes.

Afterward, the victim was told to walk into nearby woods while the attacker then fled on foot. The victim told a friend what happened, and that friend called police.

A K-9 search of the area turned up no results. Detectives remain on the scene investigating the incident.  

In 2016, police charged then 19-year-old Ronald Dorsey in the murder of 37-year-old Ericka Hickson, whose body was discovered in a wooded area just a stone’s throw from Stevenson Court on Golfside Drive. 

Man, 23, found shot on Idaho Street

From Prince William police:

Shooting Investigation – On July 23 at 8:52AM, officers responded to the 1400 block of Idaho Street in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a shooting. Officers responded to the area and located an adult male suffering from a gunshot wound to the lower body.

Responding officers used their department issued trauma kits to provide immediate first-aid to the victim before rescue crews arrived on scene.  The victim, identified as a 23-year-old man of Woodbridge, was transported to an area hospital with serious, non-life threatening injuries. There is no suspect information at this time. The investigation continues.

We need more addiction treatment programs and less incarceration

Last year, more than three Virginians died, on average, to an opioid overdose every day.

While past drug epidemics have tended to hurt certain socio-economic groups more strongly than others, the opioid epidemic is devastating individuals from every race, gender, and economic background.

Fortunately, Virginia is beginning to wake up to the reality that we cannot incarcerate ourselves out of this crisis. As a public defender, many of my clients are the people we read about in the statistics – people accused of nothing more than using drugs, but sometimes facing years in prison.

Thankfully, we are recognizing that opioid use disorder (OUD) is not a personal failing where the user should be incarcerated, but rather a health disorder that must be met with treatment.

During the last legislative session, we took two important steps in fighting the opioid epidemic through treatment rather than incarceration. Most importantly, Democratic and Republican leaders in Richmond came together to expand Medicaid to cover 400,000 more Virginians.

Medicaid currently helps high-risk populations through the Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services initiative launched last year. Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond already has documented positive results, including a 31 percent decline in emergency department visits for individuals who are receiving this assistance over the first five months of the program.

With more individuals getting insured due to Medicaid expansion, more people than ever before will have access to addiction recovery programs. Medicaid expansion will also bring them into the overall health care system in which they can get treatment for mental health, pain management or other issues that could put them at risk of developing OUD.

Second, the General Assembly took steps to increase OUD prevention measures. I was proud to vote for a bipartisan bill last session that ensures safer opioid dispensing practices. These new regulations, paired with increased education and awareness, will enable more patients and doctors to seek alternatives to opioids so that they can build better, safer pain management plans.

Luckily, not just the General Assembly is waking up to the reality that we need more treatment programs and less incarceration. Insurers are leading by monitoring usage and alerting prescribers and pharmacies when patients demonstrate risky prescription-fill patterns, enabling proactive interventions.

Healthcare stakeholders have also worked with the Virginia General Assembly to raise the reimbursement rates for OUD treatment. As a result, more patients receive treatment through a managed care system and find alternatives to opioids.

Many insurers are now including addiction services, ensuring greater access to pharmaceutical-based treatments, such as Suboxone, which has proved to be effective when used as part of a rehabilitation program. They are also lowering access barriers to naloxone, the overdose “antidote.”

In short, OUD prevention and treatment initiatives are gaining momentum across the commonwealth. The battle to protect our residents from addiction is far from over, but with the help of so many stakeholders, we’re developing, validating, and rolling out programs that will enable us to overcome this crisis and save lives.

OmniRide, VRE address this week’s communication, service issues

WOODBRIDGE — Transit agencies in the region have been plagued this week by weather and communications issues.

OmniRide has been unable to make or receive phone calls or emails. This has hampered the bus company’s ability to communicate with customers and schedule off-route pick-ups for their OmniRide Local bus service, formerly OmniLink.

More in an email sent to us today:

In light of these extenuating circumstances, we have set up a temporary off-site call center to answer service-related questions and schedule

OmniRide Local off-route trips.

We will continue to post service updates at

Customer Service Agents will be available at a temporary phone number weekdays between 7:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. during the outage. We will resume regular Customer Service hours and contact information when our phone and email service is restored. 

Temporary Customer Service phone number: 703-792-8045

To cancel OmniRide Local off-route trips: 703-254-4074

Virginia Railway Express riders have been delayed this week due to track problems and weather.

On Monday morning, a stalled freight train in Alexandria slowed VRE trains from both Fredericksburg and Manassas. Railroad officials said they had planned to use a second track to move commuter trains around the stalled freight train, however, there were also problems with a track switch which forced it to be operated manually.

This caused rail traffic on the line to back up along the line. Plus, there issues with trains entering a tunnel at Union Station in Washington, D.C.

On Tuesday morning, weather-related issues to include flash-flood watch restrictions between Fredericksburg and Springfield slowed trains. There were also signal issues again at the tunnel near Union Station.

VRE explained what happened in full detail in an email to its riders on Tuesday afternoon. It also included this statement:

“VRE’s on time performance (OTP) has been impacted negatively several times recently by heat and rain related speed restrictions, signal and switch issues, and other train traffic/issues.  We recognize the importance of maintaining a high OTP and continue to work with our host railroads to help minimize these disruptions.  We also strive to keep everyone informed of status changes as we get information and will do our best to keep the information flowing to help our passengers better plan their commute.”

OmniRide loses phone, email service on first day of summer service change

WOODBRIDGE — OmniRide is unable to make phone calls or send emails today.

And, that’s unfortunate because it comes on the first day of a systemwide service change which means some of the bus system’s routes have changed.

“We typically field more questions during the first week of a service change,” said OmniRide spokeswoman Christine Rodrigo.

Both telephone and email service is down due to a damaged communications line near OmniRide headquarters on Potomac Mills Road in Woodbridge, she added.

OmniRide customers often call the transit agency to get information on bus routes and to set up deviations on OmniRide Local buses, formerly OmniLink buses.

OmniRide often uses email to update its customers of unexpected changes to routes, especially when traffic is jammed on Interstates 395 and 95.

The transit agency is unable to say when phone and email service will be restored. It first learned of the outage on Saturday and had hoped the lines would be fixed by today.

Here a post with a full listing of the changes for OmniRide services effective today. 

‘We have taken control:’ VDOT message board hacked in Woodbridge

WOODBRIDGE — There was an unusual message greeting commuters on Route 1.

An electronic message sign in sitting in front of Marumsco Plaza in Woodbridge stated this: “This is a message from Fed Solar We have taken control.”

Now, we have no idea what Fed Solar is or what the exact message was they were trying to get across.

We do know, however, it was not supposed to be there.

“Every once in a while someone breaks into the sign cabinet,” said Jenni McCord, a Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman.

Someone broke in and changed the message to the sign. It’s not uncommon, however, this hack was seen by thousands of commuters who use Route 1 north to get to work in the morning.

The electronic signs were placed in the area as part of the Route 1 widening project where crews are widening the road from four to six lanes from Marys Way to the Occoquan River.

The contractor on the project re-locked the hacked sign, and two others on the job site as a precaution added McCord.

Hat tip to Potomac Local reader Chuck Briant for the news tip that led to this story.

Manassas co-work space CenterFuse wins Virginia Main Street award

CenterFuse, a co-work space and small business incubator located in Historic Downtown Manassas, took home top honors in the Outstanding Business of the Year category at the recent Virginia Main Street (VMS) Conference in Harrisonburg, VA.  CenterFuse is a cooperative/collaborative workspace that offers professional services and support to start-up businesses and emerging ventures.  It also serves as office space for telecommuters or small businesses that prefer a full-service working environment in lieu of fast food restaurants and coffee houses.  

CenterFuse was founded by the principals of ECU Communications and Whitlock Wealth Management as a for-profit venture.  The City of Manassas provided an economic development grant to offset initial startup costs because of the economic benefit that comes from having an entrepreneurial center in Downtown.  Historic Manassas Inc., the City’s Virginia Main Street program, manages the space in keeping with the non-profit’s goal of promoting economic vitality.  All three public/private partners see the co-work space as an opportunity to promote an entrepreneurial culture and to home grow small businesses throughout the Greater Manassas region.  This unique partnership is a large part of what led to the award and recognition by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) as being the best-in-class Business of the Year.

The award was presented by Virginia Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade, Cassidy Rasnick, and DHCD Director Erik Johnston.  ECU’s Ken Krick, Whitlock Wealth Management’s Bennett Whitlock, Manassas Economic Development Director Patrick Small and Historic Manassas, Inc.’s (HMI) Executive Director Debbie Haight attended the luncheon to receive the award. 

CenterFuse has long and short-term space rental available as well as day passes for the occasional user.  The range of services includes access to business equipment, conference space with audio/visual capability, a receptionist, mail boxes and a free coffee bar and kitchenette.  One of the most appealing features of CenterFuse is its location near the VRE station and the bustling activity of the nearby restaurants and shops in Historic Downtown Manassas.

Fire crews called to basement blaze in Lake Ridge

From an email: 

Firefighters responded to the report of a house on fire at 11970 Shorewood Court in Woodbridge.  Crews arrived within minutes and reported fire in the basement in the rear of the house.  

Crews entered through the rear basement door of the home and through the front door, attacking fire in the basement.  Crews contained the fire to a single room in the basement of the home and had the fire extinguished within 20 minutes.   

The fire is under investigation by the Prince William County Fire Marshal’s Office.  Two adult occupants were displaced.  Fire and Rescue units from OWL VFD, Dale City VFD, and PWC DF&R responded to the incident.

Burglar steals money from B-Thrifty safe

From Prince William police: 

On July 17 at 7:00PM, officers responded to the B-Thrifty located at 13412 Jefferson Davis Hwy in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a burglary. An employee reported to police that an unknown suspect entered the business around 1:45AM that morning. The investigation revealed that there were no signs of forced entry. The suspect took moneybags from a safe before fleeing the business on foot. The investigation continues.
Suspect Description:

Black with light skin, black hair with a mustache and a beard. Last seen wearing a bright neon green Nike shirt.

Chick-fil-A is #1 again. How they do it in Bristow.

Chick-fil-A ranks as the number one restaurant on the American Consumer Satisfaction Index released this month. 

It’s the second year the fast-food restaurant won the top spot, beating out competitors Panera Bread, Subway, and Arbys, respectively. 

It’s good news for Chick-fill-A at Bristow owner Mike Lovitt, who says the place known for its chicken sandwiches aims to convert guests into raving fans of Chick-fil-A. 

It starts with clean restaurants, and greeting customers with a smile and an enthusiastic greeting “Welcome to Chick-fil-A!” and “How may we serve you?” when they approach the front counter.

“And, the food’s gotta taste good,” said Lovitt. 

But excellent service also means always being vigilant, says the retired U.S. Army Colonel.

“We must consistently treat our guests to a clean restaurant, fast service, attentive and courteous team members, and good tasty food. Our team members execute “second-mile” mile service which goes above and beyond what is expected by our guests to strive for the “Wow” factor.” In our restaurant, we also go to great lengths to treat everyone with honor, dignity, and respect”.

The top nod also goes to a restaurant adheres to the principle of closing on Sunday on Sundays to allow its employees to spend time with family and friends. 

And unlike other fast food franchises, it’s uncommon to see owners with multiple Chick-fil-A stores. That allows owners to focus on guests, service, and food quality. 

And when it comes to finding the right owners for restaurants, “Chick-fil-A has a long, detailed interview process and is looking for people with good character,” he added.  

Chick-fil-A at Bristow is located at 9939 Sowder Village Square just outside Manassas. They’re open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to  10 p.m., and Saturdays 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Public transit is still underutilized. So, how could OmniRide grow by becoming innovative?

This summary of the Masabi Research report from April 2018 was presented to the PRTC Board of Commissioners at its meeting on June 7, 2018.

Summary: “Key Factors Influencing Riders in North America: The emerging urban mobility ecosystem.”

Masabi issued a Google Surveys poll in the fall of 2017 to a diverse group of over 1000 US residents in order to gain an overview of the trends taking place in regards to public transit ridership across North America. The survey included both people who use public transit services and those who do not. All respondents, however, did have access to public transit services. Those who did not have access were excluded from taking the survey.

The survey was conducted to isolate the macro trends that are currently impacting public transit ridership and to indicate subgroup trends taking place, which might highlight behavior occurring and may spur others to conduct more in-depth research.

Topline findings include:

• Citizens are mostly optimistic about public transit services
• Public transit is still underutilized
• Convenience is the top priority for passengers when choosing to ride public transit
• Ridesharing is connecting public transit for many, facilitating multimodal journeys
• Convenience enablers attract riders (combining modes of transit through an app, mobile ticketing and location tracking)
• Private car ownership vs. ridesharing and public transit: The use of shared mobility services vastly increases the likelihood of riding public transit, pointing to a growing urban mobility system.

This report states that convenience, more than cost and necessity is the number one driver behind public transit ridership across all of the respondents. Riders with multiple options for transportation – the ones that are most rapidly reducing their reliance on public transit – are concerned first and foremost with convenience, not cost or comfort. While this means public transit agencies are vulnerable to losing riders to more convenient options, it also means that even minor improvements in convenience can boost ridership numbers.

Per this report, the bad news for public transit agencies is that their ridership numbers are indeed being impacted in some capacity by the increasing popularity of ridesharing services – nearly 10% of all consumers with access to public transit are using ridesharing on a weekly basis. The good news, however, is that there’s a major opportunity to play to the trend of combining ridesharing and public transit by creating first/last mile partnerships.

The report concludes that agencies can take a lesson from some of the convenient features that ridesharing apps provide, like location tracking and seamless payment, and deploy them relatively easily within their own systems. Increasing ridership by boosting convenience would have a positive impact on street congestion, while ridesharing can serve to replace personal vehicles in the first/last mile and in places underserved by public transit.

So what? How could OmniRide grow by becoming innovative?

The report’s findings clearly paint a picture of urban transit that is growing increasingly complex. Given what we know about the importance of convenience, it’s clear that many consumers who are not strictly motivated by price are combining public transit and ridesharing.

While fare reductions and service hour changes could certainly be cost prohibitive, technology changes are relatively inexpensive to implement and have also measurably increased ridership based on the data in this report. OmniRide is currently in the process of implementing a real-time arrival and location tracking application, but could also benefit from a mobile ticketing solution and first/last mile partnerships.

There is much more potential moving forward for interoperability between public and private services to enable full first/last mile journeys with public transit at its core. Not to mention the fact that relatively small changes in convenience – the addition of location tracking or convenient ticket purchase options, for example – could result in a major ridership boost for OmniRide in the short term. Increasing ridership, even marginally, is a must for OmniRide for the sake of our congested county.

Through better public/private partnerships and a more integrated transit system in general, it is possible to reduce overall congestion while enabling growth in Prince William County by:
• Increasing the use and ridership of OmniRide, starting with easier to deploy, consumer-facing features that increase convenience and build goodwill
• Recognize that OmniRide has been suffering from years of investment neglect, but that immediate changes can be made to start moving things in the right direction
• Facilitating partnerships between different modes of transit to increase efficiency
• Moving towards a more integrated transit model with closer partnerships between public and private organizations

There is no reason to be focused on one transportation mode or another. Instead, improving the current situation should be about facilitating seamless mobility and enabling consumers to use the best mode for each situation, thereby increasing convenience. This is absolutely critical to converting the riders who aren’t using public transit every day out of necessity – a huge growth opportunity that OmniRide can start taking advantage of right now.

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