Monday, 16 November 2015

New Commuter Bus Service from Woodbridge to Mark Center

A new commuter bus system will mean less congestion and reduced travel times, but can construction be completed in time for the program’s launch?

Great news for commuters headed to Mark Center who are tired of the grinding drive. Starting December 7, 2015, there will be an alternative for commuters who are looking to skip the drive. Two new OmniRide commuter bus routes will be opening that lead straight to the Alexandria facility. The bus routes will be completely funded by the VDRPT (Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation) in an effort to reduce congestion and gridlock along I-395.

These two new routes are the first of their kind, and offer a significant advantage for Prince William County commuters looking to skip the drive for the morning and afternoon rushes—each route will offer four trips for the morning and evening. Commuting via bus offers the distinct advantage of being able to relax on your commute or get some work done, effectively negating the worst aspects of commuting alone in your personal vehicle. Commuter buses will travel via the I-95 Express Lane and take advantage of the new I-395 HOV ramp located at Seminary Road.
With one route starting in Dale City, and another in Lake Ridge, these new commuter services will provide ease of use and value to numerous commuters. Riders with SmarTrip cards will pay $6.20 one way, or $8.30 cash. For those slugging from Mark Center, the designated taxi-drop off and line up point is along Mark Center Drive, around the corner from the transportation center.

While all of this information is good news, there is one problem; we don’t know when the new ramp from the I-395 HOV lane to Seminary Road will be open. Virginia DOT has the ramp opening scheduled for early December 2015, but there hasn’t been a firm date released yet. The total construction project is slated to be completed in the spring of 2016, and there are concerns regarding the coordination of the new commuter bus service and the opening of the Seminary Road HOV ramp in time for bus service to begin.

In the meantime, slugging is coordinated by three different mailing lists specific to different locations:
    Horner / Tacketts Mills:
    Route 234:
    Stafford / Fredericksburg:
While hopeful commuters wait for the good news, it’s back to the daily grind.