Fairfax Connector lowers fares
on 6 routes, adjusts VRE policy

The Fairfax Connector, the county-owned bus service, announced recently that it will lower fares on six routes to match the fare structures of other transit providers and to encourage ridership.

In addition, Fairfax Connector changed its policy regarding transfers to and from Virginia Railway Express trains. Now riders transferring from VRE and boarding a bus at one of the VRE stations in the county will not have to pay the bus fare. Riders will be charged a fare to go to a VRE station on a Fairfax Connector bus.

These routes will have lowered fares:

→Route 394, Saratoga-Pentagon Express: Current fare is $5.35. New fare will be $3.65 for SmarTrip, $4 cash.

→Route 395, Pentagon-Gambrill Road: Current fare is $5.35. New fare will be $3.65 for SmarTrip, $4 cash.

→Route 493, Lorton to Tysons: Current fare is $3.65 for SmarTrip, $4 cash. New fare will be $1.60 for SmarTrip, $1.80 cash.

→Route 494, Springfield to Tysons: Current fare is $3.65 for SmarTrip; $4 cash. New fare will be $1.60 for SmarTrip, $1.80 cash.

→Route 495, Burke VRE to Tysons: Current fare is $3.65 for SmarTrip; $4 cash. New fare will be $1.60 for SmarTrip; $1.80 cash.

→Route 981, Tysons WestPark to Dulles Airport Express: Current fare is $5.35. New fare will be $1.60 for SmarTrip, $1.80 cash.

Revenue collections in Virginia rise 20 percent over May 2012

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) announced June 17 that state revenue collections in May were more than 20 percent higher than those in May 2012. May is a significant month for revenue collections in Virginia; it’s when state income taxes are due.

So far this year, total revenue collections are up 6 percent, ahead of the annual forecast of 3.6 percent growth. According to the governor’s office, a sharp increase in individual income tax payments as compared to last year was the largest factor in the increase.

“Revenue is up; unemployment is down. This is more good news for Virginia’s economy,” McDonnell said in a news release. “We still have another month to go before the fiscal year draws to a close, and therefore caution is in order before projecting too far out about how the commonwealth’s books will look at the end of the year. However, at this moment, it does appear Virginia is on track to meet, and exceed, budget projections.”

Virginians warned of electric utility bill telephone scam

Some Virginians have been receiving scam phone calls from people claiming to be an employee of their electric utility provider and demanding immediate payment of their bill, according to the office of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R).

There have been several reports in which the caller claims to be a company employee and threatens to shut off electric service unless a delinquent bill is paid within hours. Those called are then encouraged to go to Walmart or another retailer to buy a Green Dot Visa card or other card so the money can be loaded onto the card and a payment can be made over the phone to the caller.

The callers appear to be targeting Spanish-speaking customers, the elderly and businesses in the state. The callers sometimes are able to appear legitimate by “spoofing” the utility’s phone number, so the resident’s caller ID makes it appear as if it were a phone call from the utility. Instances have been reported by customers of Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative, Dominion Virginia Power and Rappahannock Electric Cooperative.

People should attempt to verify the identity of anyone claiming to represent a business and should contact their utility company independently to verify their account status.