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New bus services in Tysons are very timely

Tysons Express route.jpg
PRTC image shows Tysons Express bus stops on morning route, starting Monday.

For traffic managers, the road and rail construction in Tysons Corner represents a different kind of challenge. On most recent projects -- the Wilson Bridge, the Springfield interchange, the Potomac and Anacostia bridge rehabs -- their task has been to help people find ways around the construction.

In Tysons, where more than 100,000 people report to work each weekday, the planners have to help most of them go through the construction. And the work -- the HOT lanes, the Metrorail extension, the private reconstruction -- is going to take years.

This month, commuters will encounter the most recent examples of the traffic management plan, with the launch of two new bus services.

Tysons Express
The first commuter bus service with a direct route from Woodbridge to Tysons starts Monday. The new buses, operated by PRTC's OmniRide and financed by the Virginia government, have a great introductory offer: They will be free the first week, then fares will be half the normal OmniRide price for six months. Commuters using SmarTrip cards will pay $2.40 per trip while those using cash will pay $3. (Plus, they'll have free WiFi.)

Schedule: The buses will travel between the Woodbridge VRE station and the Route 123/Interstate 95 commuter lot and stops in Tysons. The four inbound trips will leave between 6:10 and 8:05 a.m., then ride the HOV lanes to Franconia-Springfield and then take the Capital Beltway to Route 7. They will stop at the Tysons Corner Transit Center and more than a dozen other points, mostly along Greensboro Drive and Jones Branch Drive. The return trips start from the Tysons Corner Transit Center between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Click here to see complete schedule and route map.

Tysons Connector
The other service launching this month in Tysons is an internal circulator bus. Tysons was built for cars. You can hardly get anywhere without one. The new Connector bus is meant to ease that burden.

The bus, operated by Fairfax County, will offer free midday service around Tysons Corner beginning Nov. 23. Two routes will pick up passengers every 10 minutes from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. weekdays and get them to and from Tysons Corner Center, Tysons Galleria and the major employers nearby. See the route map here.

Other transit options
These are the services already available to travelers in Tysons:
-- Fairfax Connector routes 401, 425, 427, 574
-- Metrobus 2C, 2T, 3T, 5A, 15K, 15L, 15M, 23A, 23C, 24T, 28A, 28B, 28T
-- Connections to other regional transit routes at the West Falls Church Metro station and the Tysons Westpark Transit Station.

Next year
In fall 2010, Tysons Express will provide service from Loudoun to Tysons.

By Robert Thomson  |  November 4, 2009; 10:27 AM ET
Categories:  Commuting , transit  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Tysons  
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I'd be curious to see the ridership on the early Tysons buses. Since Tysons is less of a federal bastion than the downtown core, flex-time (that is, being able to leave at 4p, even if you did get in at 7am), doesn't seem to be as prevalent down here.
If they see ridership skewed towards the later runs, I'd hope they'd add a 6:30 or 7pm run.

Posted by: vtavgjoe | November 4, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

vtavgjoe: While Tysons employees may have more flexible schedules than DC employees, the trick is still to provide service when *most* workers need it. My guess is that most Tysons employees will want service at the same general times as DC employees.

If ridership is heavily skewed toward the later trips, departure times would be adjusted; a new trip would not be added. (Adding trips costs money and PRTC got enough for four AM and four PM trips from the state.)

The problem with adjusting headways in this case is that creating a 6:30 or 7pm run would increase headways to the point that ridership would likely drop.

Posted by: nevermindtheend | November 4, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Clarification: The map at the top of the story is facing south.

Posted by: nevermindtheend | November 4, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

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