[This post has been updated]
Members from a French government delegation are scheduled to ride the Virginia Railway Express commuter service on Friday
VRE officials said 15 members from the French Parliament will ride on the afternoon trains before heading to a dinner hosted by the French Embassy. The French are also expected to meet with officials from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the American Public Transportation Association to discuss potential partnerships and share transportation strategies, VRE officials said.
“We wanted to show them what riders face here everyday and they jumped at the opportunity,” VRE Spokesman Mark Roeber said.
VRE gave the French government its first involvement in the U.S. transportation industry in 2009 when commuter rail officials chose to abandon their 18-year relationship with Amtrak and selected Keolis Rail Services America to operate and maintain VRE trains. The company is a subsidiary of SNCF, the French National Railway.
“We want to have the opportunity to show them how we run our railroad and how their partnership has fit in to make us a better railroad,” Roeber said.
Roeber said VRE officials will also discuss transportation issues with their French guests and are open to any suggestions they have to further improve mass transit options in America.