Some transit riders will be asked to change their habits, perhaps taking a bus to the Silver Line’s new Wiehle Avenue Metro station in the Reston area rather than to the Orange Line’s West Falls Church station, or using trains instead of riding express buses.
But Tom Biesiadny, the director of the county’s transportation department, said the agency also hopes to greatly increase the number of people taking buses and trains instead of driving cars. Planners said the time saved on long bus trips to reach Orange Line stations can be reinvested in more frequent trips to Silver Line stations, something they hope will increase the popularity of the bus service.
Transportation administrators have been taking their plans on a countywide tour to explain them to the public and get reactions. That review will continue till the end of February. In April, they will go back to the public with a revised plan before asking the approval of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in May or June.
Later, the transportation department will use various forms of advertising, social media and face-to-face outreach to inform riders and the general public about the service changes. Metrobus has been going through a similar process for some of its routes in Fairfax County.
Here’s a guide to the Fairfax Connector plan, which will start the day the Silver Line opens, though that date has not been set. Comments on the proposed changes can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, or submitted by calling 703-877-5600, TTY 711. Write to Fairfax County Department of Transportation, Attn: Fairfax Connector Dulles Rail Bus Service Plan, 4050 Legato Rd., Suite 400, Fairfax, Va. 22033.
The plan adds or modifies 32 Fairfax Connector routes, while eliminating six others.
In Herndon and Reston, routes that serve the West Falls Church Metro station will be diverted to the new Wiehle-Reston East station, at the west end of the Silver Line’s first phase. In McLean and Vienna, new routes will be created and existing routes modified to serve the new Metro stations. In Tysons, four Silver Line Circulator bus routes will be created to serve its four new Metro stations.
Some commuters and neighborhood residents have questions about the safety of routes and access to bus stops. Other bus riders say routing changes could make their commutes longer and more complicated. Retirees want to make sure there’s enough off-peak service to meet their needs.