Washington Flyer to reduce fare to Dulles when Silver Line opens

Washington Flyer will change to Silver Line Express when the Silver Line opens/ MWAA Washington Flyer will change to “Silver Line Express” when the Silver Line opens. (MWAA)

When Metro’s new Silver Line opens this year, a bus ride to Dulles International Airport will be shorter and cheaper for some travelers.

The Washington Flyer, which now provides nonstop service to the airport from the West Falls Church Metro station, will move to the Wiehle-Reston East station, one of the five new Silver Line stations set to open this year. The fare will decrease from the current $10 one-way or $18 round trip to $5 each way, an airport spokesman said.

Earlier this year, officials at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which is overseeing construction of the rail line, said they planned to hand over the first phase of the project to Metro sometime this month.  As of Tuesday, there is still no firm date for when the line will open for passengers. Eventually, the $5.6 billion Silver Line project will extend Metro to Dulles.

When the Silver Line opens, Washington Flyer will debut with new buses and a new name, MWAA spokesman Rob Yingling said.  The buses will have an interior configuration similar to airport shuttles, with seats and large luggage racks, and the service will take the new name Washington Flyer Dulles International Airport Silver Line Express.

Buses also will be more frequent. They currently run every 30 minutes; when the new line opens, they will run every 20 minutes– and  every 15 minutes during some weekday peak hours.

Riders will be able to pay with cash or credit cards, but the buses will not be equipped to take SmarTrip cards. The stop at the airport will remain the same, Yingling said.

The more frequent trips will help meet increasing demand for bus connection to the airport.  Last year, the Washington Flyer served about 14,000 passengers a month. The new bus will seat 29 passengers, and an additional 14 riders will be able to stand in the aisles.

Metro also provides bus service to the airport from the L’Enfant Plaza and Rosslyn Metro stations for $6, payable by SmarTrip card or cash.

“It is a nonstop ride directly from the airport to the nearest Metrorail station, and we are happy that station is now going to be closer to Dulles and in a few years it will be located at Dulles,” said Yingling.

Luz Lazo writes about transportation and development. She has recently written about the challenges of bus commuting, Metro’s dark stations, and the impact of sequestration on air travel.
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