Arlington County transit riders will notice some enhanced bus service starting Monday in some of the county’s busiest transit corridors.
Arlington Transit is adding eight new buses to accommodate more frequent weekday service and additional weekend trips in the Columbia Pike and Rosslyn-Ballston corridors and the Pentagon City-Crystal City area.
County transportation officials say the purchase of new buses is an answer to greater demand for service and higher ridership in the county. ART, a bus network of 15 bus routes, connects Arlington neighborhoods to the regional Metro system. It has significantly grown over the past decade, going from a ridership of about 650,000 annually back in 2004 to nearly 3 million this year.
The longer — 40-foot — buses accommodate more passengers, both standing and seated. The ART fleet previously was comprised mostly of 35-foot buses, which hold 31 seating passengers and 15 standing passengers. The new buses have capacity for 11 more passengers, and “are needed to accommodate higher demand and ridership,” Arlington County spokesman Eric Balliet said.
The county has made some recent investments in the system. The new buses are part of a larger plan to add 30 new fuel efficient buses in 10 years and phase out older, smaller models in the fleet. ART received the first batch of eight new buses last fall. The eight that arrived in June cost the county $4 million, and are paid with a combination of local, state and regional funds.
The county also recently approved a construction contract for a new, $17.6 million bus operations facility in Crystal City that will provide a larger operational space and parking for the ART fleet of nearly 60 buses. Construction of the new facility, which will have a bus wash bay and a compressed natural gas fueling station, is expected to start this summer and be completed in 18 months.
Service changes that start July 6
- ART 41 (Columbia Pike-Ballston-Courthouse): More evening and weekend trips will be added. Service on weeknights and Saturday nights will run every 23 minutes instead of every 25 or 35 minutes; and buses will run every 15 minutes during the day, seven days a week.
- ART 43 (Crystal City-Rosslyn-Court House): Route will add service to 10:35 a.m. during the morning rush and to 7:47 p.m. during the evening rush. Buses will run every 10 minutes.
- ART 87 (Pentagon Metro-Army Navy Drive-Shirlington): Service will be extended until 11:41 p.m. on weekdays and 11:53 p.m. on Saturdays. New Sunday service will be added from 7:14 a.m. to 7:11 p.m. This route will travel to the Pentagon City Metro Station instead of the Pentagon Metro Station on weekends. A new route, the ART 87P, will run between the Pentagon and South Lang Street in the Long Branch Creek neighborhood.