Changes proposed for Prince William Co., Manassas commuter buses

WASHINGTON — A series of significant commuter and local bus changes in Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park in Virginia are the subject of public hearings that start Wednesday.

The proposals include a new rush-hour only OmniRide Express commuter bus route between the Haymarket Commuter Lot and Rosslyn, Courthouse and Ballston and an overhaul of Manassas-area local bus service. It is one of a number of commuter buses expected to be added to the Interstate 66 corridor as toll lane construction continues outside the Capital Beltway.

The three new Manassas area routes would meet a block behind the Prince William County Courthouse off Va. 28 (Center St.) and W. Court House Rd. That would replace Manassas Mall as the local bus system’s main transfer point.

As part of the overhaul, buses would stick to fixed routes and a new OmniRide Access paratransit service would be launched to serve riders with disabilities. The fare for that service would be twice the regular bus fare, which would be $3.10.

PRTC’s meetings on the plans are Wednesday 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Manassas Park Community Center, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Baldwin Elementary School in Manassas, Thursday 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Haymarket Gainesville Community Library and next Wednesday, Oct. 24, at the OmniRide Transit Center in Woodbridge from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The PRTC OmniRide changes are just a few of those under consideration regionwide over the next several weeks.

In Arlington, a public comment survey is open until 5 p.m. Friday on a number of proposed bus route changes. They include a new weekday-only Route 72 between Williamsburg, Ballston and Shirlington, some additional service on Route 45, and cuts or adjustments to schedules on other routes.

In Fairfax County, Fairfax Connector plans to start new rush-hour express service this winter between Vienna Metro and the Pentagon, add a new midday and evening Route 467 between Dunn Loring, Vienna Park and Tysons. The board of supervisors is expected to approve the changes next month.

In Montgomery County, Maryland, after some additional service was added to several Ride On routes in September, there is a new proposal to extend Route 75 to the Germantown MARC Station and parts of Clarksburg. A public forum is scheduled at the UpCounty Regional Services Center at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 1, or comments can be emailed.

In Loudoun County, no major changes beyond the updates that began this summer are planned at the moment, but an updated Route 88X schedule will take effect Oct. 22 to account for regular traffic backups. More significant changes are expected when the Silver Line extension opens around 2020.

In Alexandria, DASH is beginning to develop the city’s Transit Vision Plan to redraw the city’s bus network based on balancing interest in providing service to more places against providing service more frequently. The next meeting on that plan is Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Tucker Elementary School. An online survey is open through Oct. 26.

Even larger changes could be implemented later as part of a regional bus overhaul organized by Metro that could be rolled out over the next decade. A survey on that plan remains open.

Metro is expected to propose its own bus changes for next year soon.

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