Northern Va. bus services face fare hikes, route cuts under proposal

WASHINGTON — Changes proposed for commuter bus service in Northern Virginia could add hundreds of additional cars to Interstate 95 and Interstate 66.

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC) is holding public hearings over the next two weeks for comment on proposals to cut service and increase fares for OmniRide, Metro Direct, Cross County Connector and OmniLink buses.

The PRTC’s website says numbers of factors are contributing to what it expects will be a budget deficit of $9.2 million for fiscal year 2017 that begins in July of 2016. Those factors include a loss of federal funding that occurred when I-95 High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes converted into High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes.

An overall cut of 10 percent of PRTC bus routes through the region and into Northern Virginia and D.C. would include, for example, limiting Metro Direct bus service to only morning and evening rush hours, reduce the evening frequency of all eastern OmniLink routes and cut back on Friday OmniRide service.

Proposed fare hikes include an increase of more than 7 percent for regular OmniLink service — a nearly 4 percent increase for Metro Direct regular cash service and an increase of nearly 5 percent for reduced price Senior/Disabled OmniRide service.

Find proposed route cuts and fare increases here.

Public hearings on the proposals will be in Woodbridge and Manassas:

  • Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, 1 p.m.
    PRTC Transit Center
    14700 Potomac Mills Road, Woodbridge, VA 22192
    Find limited parking in the commuter lot across the street. Additional parking and free shuttle service will be available at the Best Western Hotel at Potomac Mills Rd and Town Center Rd.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, 7 p.m.
    PRTC Transit Center
    14700 Potomac Mills Road, Woodbridge, VA 22192
    See notes above on parking availability.
  • Tuesday, February 16, 2016, 7 p.m.
    Manassas City Hall, Council Chambers
    9027 Center St, Manassas, VA 20110
    There is limited parking at City Hall but numbers of public lots in the vicinity.

The PRTC includes six jurisdictions: Prince William, Stafford and Spotsylvania counties and the cities of Manassas, Manassas Park and Fredericksburg.

Proposals for route and fare changes that would be included in the PRTC budget should be approved by May 2016 and would take effect July 1, 2016.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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