On-going construction of the I-95/I-395 Express Lanes has prompted Virginia Megaprojects to continue fully funding a free Saturday bus service between eastern Prince William County and the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station until the new lanes officially open.
The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, PRTC, started operating free Saturday trips on its Prince William Metro Direct bus route in September 2013. Virginia Megaprojects, which is a collaboration of the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, is paying 100% of operational costs for the Saturday Metro Direct bus service to encourage drivers to share their ride during weekends when the I-95/I-395 HOV lanes are closed for construction of the Express Lanes.
Initially the free bus fares were to end in May 2014 but because weekend HOV Lane closures have continued, Virginia Megaprojects decided to continue its 100% support of the bus service through summer 2014. Now officials have decided that the free bus rides will continue until the Express Lanes open, which is currently projected for the end of the year.
In the first year of the Saturday Prince William Metro Direct service:
- More than 25,000 passengers took trips;
- Average daily ridership was 476 passenger trips, 36% higher than the 350 passengers per day originally projected;
- The high-ridership mark of 760 was set on August 2, 2014;
- On-time performance (leaving from PRTC and from the Metro station within 5 minutes of the scheduled departure time) was 88% for the year; and
- There were 12 days when on-time performance was 100%.
PRTC also operates Prince William Metro Direct buses on weekdays. Fares for weekday service are $2.90 when paying with a SmarTrip card or $3.60 cash.
For more information about PRTC’s services, call Customer Service at (703) 730-6664 or visit PRTCtransit.org.