Fare-free bus service comes to Loudoun Co. in 2025; Commuter bus fares to DC to rise

Passengers board the first Loudoun County Transit bus serving commuters from a new lot in the Stone Ridge neighborhood. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

Local bus services in Loudoun County, Virginia will be free starting in 2025, as the county tries to harness the power of Metro’s Silver Line, and ensure low income, elderly and disabled residents have options for navigating the fast-growing county.

However, fares will go up on the county’s commuter bus service to downtown D.C., the Pentagon, Rosslyn and Crystal City.

The Loudoun Board of Supervisors voted Thursday to discontinue collecting the $1 fare on the county’s fixed routes. The supervisors also agreed to eliminate or consolidate 10 routes with the lowest ridership.

Operated by Loudoun County Transit, local bus service provides weekday and limited Saturday service from Purcellville through Leesburg, and eastern Loudoun County, with some service connecting directly to the Silver Line stations.

The actions were taken during the board’s transit summit as the county considered ways to boost ridership and reduce costs.

While the county continues to encourage development and infrastructure improvements around the new Ashburn and Loudoun Gateway Silver Line stations, it’s also trying to improve service — including new bus shelters — for low-income, elderly and disabled residents.

The fare will also be eliminated for the county’s paratransit service, which provides on-demand service for special needs residents.

Downtown commuter bus fares to go up

While local bus service fares will disappear, the board of supervisors voted to increase fares for the county’s commuter bus service to downtown D.C., the Pentagon, Crystal City and Rosslyn.

According to a staff presentation, with an average daily ridership of 1,064, the commuter bus service removes 552 vehicles daily from the area’s roads.

Research showed riders who used the Loudoun County commuter bus service to downtown, have a yearly income around $150,000.

The county will increase the current one-way fare from $10 to $11 in 2025, and $12 in 2026. According to the briefing, the commuter bus ride would shave approximately 20 minutes from a commute on Metro’s Silver Line trains.

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Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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