The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, PRTC, will increase its bus fares as of July 1, 2013. PRTC offers commuter and local transportation services in Prince William County, the City of Manassas and the City of Manassas Park.
PRTC held public hearings on the proposed fare increase in April. The PRTC Board of Commissioners voted at its June 6 meeting to approve the fare increase as proposed.
See the new commuter bus fares or the new local bus fares.
Reduced fares will continue to be available on PRTC buses to those 60 and older, those with a disability and those with a valid Medicare card, although those fares are also increasing. Reduced fares will continue to be half of the regular fares.
Also, promotional fares will continue to be offered on PRTC’s Tysons Express buses, which provide service in HOV and Express Lanes between Woodbridge and Tysons Corner. The cost of a one-way trip will be $2.90 when paying with a SmarTrip card, an increase of 25 cents from the current fare, or $3.60 when paying with cash, an increase of 30 cents. Tysons Express service is entirely funded by Virginia Megaprojects, which is a collaboration of the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation.
This is PRTC’s first fare increase since July 2010 and is necessary to contain the amount of increased subsidy required from the local jurisdictions that sponsor PRTC bus services. Passenger fares cover only a fraction of the cost of operating service; as a result, Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park subsidize PRTC via their respective 2.1% motor fuels tax collections. Prince William County provides the majority of that subsidy since it is the only local jurisdiction that sponsors PRTC’s commuter bus services and it also covers most of the subsidy required for local bus service expenses.
Constraining the local subsidy is necessary because Prince William County’s motor fuels tax generates less revenue than what the County currently spends for PRTC bus and VRE rail services combined. In addition, the motor fuels tax yield is lessened as people buy more fuel-efficient vehicles.
Because the tax yield is less than the County’s annual cost for transit service sponsorship, the shortfall is being covered by tapping fuel tax reserves built up in prior years. However, that’s only a stop-gap solution. As a result, to cover the cost of its services PRTC must rely more heavily on fare revenue and an anticipated increase in state assistance resulting from the passage of transportation funding legislation during the last General Assembly session.
Mindful of the limitations on available public funding, these service changes are envisioned in PRTC’s FY 2014 budget:
- Slight schedule adjustments that will allow PRTC to counteract longer running times and overcrowding; and
- The completion of restructuring plans for PRTC’s westerly OmniRide services that will:
- Enable Linton Hall Metro Direct buses to serve the new Cushing Road commuter lot at Prince William Parkway and I-66 when it opens in July 2013;
- Enable Manassas Metro Direct and Linton Hall Metro Direct buses to serve a new Tysons Metro station when Metrorail’s Silver Line opens; and
- Shift some existing resources from the Manassas and Linton Hall areas to create a new Gainesville OmniRide route with direct service to Washington, D.C.
For more information about PRTC’s services and fares, please contact Customer Service at 703-730-6664 or Omni@OmniRide.com.