A proposed state bus route soon could take riders from Charlottesville to Washington, D.C.
The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation is planning to roll out an expansion of the Virginia Breeze in the spring.
The Virginia Breeze started in 2017 and travels between Blacksburg and D.C. It includes stops at Virginia Tech, Christiansburg, Lexington, Staunton, Harrisonburg, Front Royal, Dulles International Airport, Union Station and Arlington.
State officials are planning a 250-mile route along the U.S. 29 corridor from Danville to Washington and another from Martinsville to Richmond.
The U.S. 29 route would start in Danville with potential stops in Altavista, Lynchburg, Amherst, Lovingston, Charlottesville, Culpeper, Warrenton, Gainesville, Dulles International Airport and Union Station.
The 190-mile route from Martinsville to Richmond would include stops in Danville, South Boston, Hampden Sydney and Farmville.
The new routes haven’t been finalized because not all locations have the proper infrastructure for a stop or one hasn’t been identified. The only locations that are definite are Lynchburg, Charlottesville, Dulles and Union Station.
“Our goal is to ensure that all Virginians, regardless of where they live, have access to safe, affordable and reliable transportation. Virginians have shown immense support for the Virginia Breeze, with ridership increasing year over year” DRPT Director Jennifer Mitchell said in a news release.
The expansion comes on the heels of major success with the Blacksburg to D.C. route, which saw more than 14,500 riders in its first year, nearly double expectations, according to the Daily News-Record.
virginiabreeze.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/12/VA-Breeze-Quarterly-Report-Third-Quarter-2019.pdf" target="_blank">According to DRPT, 6,511 passengers used the service in the first quarter of 2019, a 28% increase over 2018.
On the Blacksburg to D.C. route, tickets range from $15 to $50, depending on where passengers start and end their trip. Tickets from Charlottesville to Washington on the proposed U.S. 29 route likely would be similar to the Harrisonburg-D.C. portion of the Blacksburg to D.C. service, which is $35 each way.
The Blacksburg to D.C. service is operated through Dillon’s, a subsidiary of New Jersey-based Coach USA. DRPT is reviewing proposals for the new routes.
Currently, Greyhound and Trailways offer bus service from Charlottesville to Washington. The Starlight Express service from Charlottesville to New York City, with a stop in Washington, ceased operations in October 2018, the same time as national transportation firm Megabus announced plans to enter the local market with discounted fares.
To mark the second anniversary of the Virginia Breeze, officials are holding a sweepstakes to win three free round-trip tickets on one of the new routes.
To enter the contest, which runs through Dec. 31, visit either virginiabreeze.org or the Virginia Breeze Facebook page.