Bus changes crucial to Silver Line’s success


The Greensboro station on Metro’s new Silver Line looking east along Leesburg Pike. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)

Metro General Manager Richard Sarles soaked up all the attention Monday morning when he said he hoped to announce a start date for the Silver Line next week, but the secondary purpose of Metro’s conference call with reporters will prove at least as important in the long run: Transit officials want to highlight the new bus routes that will carry commuters to the five new Silver Line stations.

Leveraging the Northern Virginia bus system to take advantage of the new stations is crucial to the success of the entire effort. Transportation officials hope they can use the Silver Line to create new transit riders, and they also need to divert some riders from the western stations on the Orange Line, where train service will decrease.

The bus service part of the Monday conference call didn’t break any news, because transit officials have been working on their route changes for several years, and plans were pretty well set in 2013. But with the Silver Line opening very likely to occur this summer, perhaps even next month, it’s very important that commuters be familiar with the routes to the new stations. These are the players:

  • Metrobus will provide service to and from the new McLean and Tysons Corner stations.
  • Fairfax Connector will handle the bulk of the bus service to all five new stations.
  • PRTC will offer service to the Tysons Corner station.
  • Loudoun County Transit will provide service to the Spring Hill and Wiehle-Reston East stations.

Changes in Metrobus routes already are in effect. Other changes will take effect on opening day of the Silver Line.

Airport buses
Metrobus Route 5A service between the District and Dulles International Airport will continue. Fairfax Connector Routes 981 and 983 will connect the airport with the Wiehle-Reston East station. The Washington Flyer also will provide service between the airport and Wiehle-Reston East, replacing the link with the West Falls Church station on the Orange Line.

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.
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