Cutting the ribbon on the new Express Connector Service, from left, Christin Wegener, planning operations manager, Fairfax Connector, County Board Chair Sharon Bulova, Supervisors John Cook (R- Braddock) and Pat Herrity (R- Springfield), VRE CEO Doug Allen, FCDOT Director Tom Biesadny.
With the expansion of Tysons Corner firmly underway, Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) is getting ahead of the commuting curve with the launch of its new Express Connector bus service utilizing the recently opened 495 Express Lanes to carry commuters from Burke to Tysons Corner.
Mornings departing from Burke VRE station, 10399 Premier Court, 6:30 to 9 a.m.
Midday from Tysons to Burke VRE station, 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
The new bus service will use the 495 Express Lanes
Buses will travel, on average, 55 mph on the Beltway, even during rush hour.
For more information, go to www.fairfaxcounty...>
The service is the first in the county to use the express lanes, and the first public transportation offered between the two locations.
There were local officials, public and press on hand at the ribbon-cutting ceremony and inaugural bus ride on Saturday morning, Jan. 12, at the Burke Centre VRE station, where the service will originate week-day mornings. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova handled the scissors, assisted by Supervisors John Cook (R- Braddock) and Pat Herrity (R- Springfield), FCDOT Director Tom Biesiadny and VRE CEO Doug Allen.
“This is exciting stuff,” said Bulova. “It’s a marriage between the VRE (Virginia Railway Express) and our Fairfax Connector system, working with VDOT and the Express Lanes. People have to pay tolls to use those lanes,” Bulova reminded. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for commuters, shoppers and business people.”
“In survey after survey, the number one reason people say they take public transportation is for a time efficient commute,” said Herrity. “This route provides just that.” Cook added, “Giving people more choices ultimately makes everyone’s living experience here in central Fairfax County better.”
After the speeches and the acknowledgements of the efforts behind the scenes, it was time to get on board the brand new bus and experience the trip. Obviously, traffic patterns on Saturday morning differ from the weekday commute. FCDOT Director Biesiadny says the average trip should normally run about 40 minutes one way. There are four different routes. Routes G and J are basically mirror images of each other, covering the major employers in the Tysons area and giving commuters a choice of directions depending on where they want to disembark. Route F is the longest, covering the largest portion of area. “M route is the one for you if you are heading to Tysons for the shopping,” said Christin Wegener, manager of Operations Planning and Customer Service with Fairfax Connector.
As an introduction to the commuting public, FCDOT is offering the service for free for the first two weeks. Starting Jan. 26, a one-way fare will cost $3.65 with a SmarTrip card, or $4 cash. Additional routes are scheduled to begin service to Tysons in March from the Lorton VRE station and from the new Saratoga Park and Ride. The full schedule, route and other commuter resource information are available at www.fairfaxconnector.com/express.