Don't be surprised to see a lion running up and down Route 1 this fall. Not to worry, its a mechanized cat known as REX, Richmond Highway Express.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors recently approved the implementation of the Revised South County Bus Service Plan to go into effect "on or about September 26." REX's primary initiative is to provide express bus service to the Huntington Metro Station.
According to the agenda item presented to the BOS by Mount Vernon and Lee district supervisors, Gerald Hyland and Dana Kauffman respectively, REX stops in Fairfax County will be located near the following intersections with Richmond Highway:
North/South Kings Highway (Michaels); Southgate Drive (Beacon Hill Shopping Center); Lockheed Boulevard/Dart Drive; Arlington Drive; Fordson Road/Boswell Avenue; Bedford Drive South; Ladson Lane; Janna Lee Avenue Area; South County Government Center; Frye Road; Lukens Lane; Sacramento Drive/Cooper Road; and Old Mill Road/Mt.Vernon Memorial Highway.
ACCORDING TO the BOS agenda submission, "There will also be three stops on Fort Belvoir initially; one at Huntington Metro Station and possibly some in Alexandria, pending finalization of the routing north of Huntington."
Following a recent meeting in the office of Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerald "Gerry" Hyland, it was decided that the new express buses will bear the image of a lion with the name REX superimposed on the side of each express carrier. The buses will also be a color combination of golden yellow and deep blue.
The original acronym was RHEX. It was shortened to REX for promotional and graphic reasons.
"We are very happy that this service will get underway," Kauffman said. Kauffman has been active in addressing the needs of public transportation along the Route 1 corridor. Kauffman also serves on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Board.
According to the Board of Supervisors, the revised Bus Service Plan requires $800,000 more funding than called for in the County's FY 2005 Budget Plan. But the tentative Commonwealth Six-Year Transportation Plan includes $800,000 for this project.
BOS authorized staff to take the necessary actions to implement the Richmond Highway Public Transportation initiative. It calls for the use of $446,000 of available NVTC funds and $111,500 of WMATA audit adjustment credits. These monies will be used for one-time start-up costs, according to the BOS action.
UNDER THE HEADING of "Fiscal Impact," staff noted, "The action require $1,780,000 of additional funds over those contained in the County's FY 2005 Budget Plan." However, they stated, "No additional General Fund monies in FY 2005 will be required ..."
They assured the BOS, "additional funds will come from the following sources: $800,000 of State funds from a Richmond Highway bus service; $446,000 of NVTC funds; $361,000 of WMATA audit credit to Fairfax County; and $172,000 will be absorbed within Fund 100, County Transit System."
As part of the report on the new REX line, staff also commented on the controversial proposal to reduces service on the current Route 101. "Both the advertised and revised Plans rationalize the Belle View service by proposing that the area be served with consistent route patterns and trip spacing, which requires that proposed Route 101 be routed through Belle View on all trips.
"This design will increase travel times by five minutes for customers traveling between the areas south of Belle View and the Huntington Metro... If Route 101 is not routed through Belle View, its frequency of service will be reduced. This is not recommended considering that Belle View generates most of the ridership from areas east of Richmond Highway between the Huntington Metro and Mount Vernon."