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Afton Express to expand service after ridership doubles in four months

The Afton Express commuter bus system is planning multiple expansions after ridership more than doubled in the last four months of 2022.

Launched in September 2021, the bus system currently offers four morning rides from Staunton, Augusta and Waynesboro to Charlottesville and Albemarle County, as well as four trips back west in the afternoon and evening.

The expanded service planned for February of this year will include a fifth evening trip and a new stop at Charlottesville’s Omni hotel.

“Afton Express ridership increased 187% between September 2021 and the end of December 2022,” according to an executive summary released Tuesday by the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission.

The Afton Express is operated by Virginia Regional Transit as part of the planning district commission’s BRITE Bus system.

In a statement, which declared the service a success, the commission said passengers took 12,261 trips between the Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro region and the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle County in the first 16 months of operation.

“Riders board the bus mostly from the Waynesboro Park and Ride lot and the Staunton Mall, and travel to a variety of locations in the Charlottesville and Albemarle region daily,” according to the executive summary, which also noted that Wednesdays are the most popular day to ride and Fridays the least.

The new stop and fifth evening trip coming this February are designed to make service available to commuters with work schedules different from traditional business hours, the commission said in its statement.

A final schedule will be made and the expansion will be implemented after the planning district commission has reviewed passenger feedback from the past month.

Current bus schedules and information can be found at www.britebus.org/afton-express-commuter-bus.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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