Posts about Ashburn
Although Loudoun County has been operating an express bus service for a number of years to Arlington and Washington from major population centers in the County, there has been no service to what is quite possibly the most popular commuter destination from within the County's borders: Tysons Corner.
Luckily, this changes on June 21st when the Loudoun–Tysons Express service inaugurates.
By car: 60–90 minutes each way and $17/day: Every morning, the four eastbound lanes of the Route 267 Dulles Toll Road are slammed with traffic from the Airport to east of Reston, and most days see at least several sections of stop-and-go traffic. The leftmost of the four lanes is restricted to HOV-2 only, so it witnesses a somewhat more freeflowing throughput.
A peak-trip drive from Leesburg to Tysons on Route 267 usually takes about 60–90 minutes each way and $11.50 in tolls roundtrip ($8 on the Greenway and $3.50 on the Toll Road), not yet mentioning wear-and-tear or the $5/day in gas these trips generally impose.
There is a toll-free (or toll-reduced) alternative in taking Route 7 at least part of the way, but this can add in excess of 30 minutes to the commute.
By the new bus: 40–60 minutes each way and $6/day: The Dulles Toll Road is unique among its peer freeways in that it includes a dedicated roadway in its center limited to the exclusive use of cars and cabs on airport business as well as authorized express buses to any destination. As a result of its travel rules, traffic on this restricted "Access Road" rarely stops flowing freely. The new Tysons Express bus service will use these lanes.
Because of the busway-like facility, the new service will provide a commute from park-and-rides near Leesburg and Ashburn to Tysons for a cost of $6 roundtrip and a bus time of 40–60 minutes, depending on the specific start–end trip.
The buses are going to be luxury coaches, complete with restrooms, reclining chairs, and free Wi-Fi.
Next steps: I have a nagging suspicion that if this is marketed properly at all (perhaps with a sign or two in the median of the Toll Road), these buses are going to be wildly popular and crowded, and that Loudoun and VDOT are going to have to find a way to add more. Similar Tysons Express Service was launched from Woodbridge last fall, and I'll admit don't have any idea how well that service has been running.
However, compared to the Woodbridge line, the Leesburg-and-Ashburn-to-Tysons route is such an obvious trip with such an onerous and expensive current commute that it's hard to suspect it won't rock success. The new express bus not only saves a peak commuter $11/day ($55/week or $2750/year) but also up to an hour a day stuck in traffic (and with free Wi-Fi to boot!)
Given the significant cost and time savings, I think there's got to be more demand for Leesburg/Ashburn-to-Tysons bus service than 385 people a day. Time will tell, but I predict an announcement this fall that Loudoun and/or VDOT will be working to double the number of buses on these routes to handle the demand.
This bus is a no-brainer. Why did it take a planned reconfiguration of Tysons just to get the players together to propose this?
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