VRE surpasses 20,000 daily riders
The Virginia Railway Express reached a new ridership milestone Wednesday, serving more than 20,000 daily riders, rail officials said.
VRE provided 20,133 passenger trips, shattering the January ridership record by more than 200 trips, VRE officials said.
"Today, everyone who has ever served on the board, or assisted VRE - whether elected officials, agency officials or executive appointees - should take a moment and smile at what you've helped to create," VRE Operations Board Chairman Sharon Bulova said. "I know I am, and do every day when I think of what VRE means to so many on a daily basis."
The number of riders using the commuter rail service continues to rise, VRE officials said. Ridership is up 7.5 percent over the same period last year, which equates to about 152,000 more people taking the train and avoiding the clogged highways in Northern Virginia.
Bulova said she attributes the growth to the region's commitment to invest in various transportation alternatives. When VRE was created in 1992, it's mission was to serve 10,000 riders.
"Back then we hoped that one day we'd grow the business to carry 10,000 and I still remember back in 2000 when we accomplished that feat that it seemed remarkable, but in a few short years we've doubled even that milestone," she said.
According to the American Public Transportation Association, only 13 of 27 commuter rail agencies recently showed a growth in ridership, VRE officials said.
VRE Chief Executive Dale Zehner said it is the ongoing commitment of the VRE Operations Board that has helped make the commuter rail a success. He also said VRE's reliability is luring people in and he believes riders will stay as long as the company continues to meet their expectations.
So far for February, VRE officials said their on-time performance is at 97 percent.
| February 18, 2011; 8:12 AM ET
Categories: Commuter Rail, Northern Virginia, Virginia, Virginia Railway Express
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