News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Get on off the bus: Budget cuts imperil uncomfortable, standing-room-only rides to Pentagon, Crystal City

While we wait for Metro's awesome Silver Line to magically arise from a series of muddy construction sites in Tysons Corner (keep clapping!), those of us with those quaint, last-century things called "jobs" have to settle for the Fairfax Connector, a bus service which takes people to various and sundry Metro stations on those occasions when the buses don't break down on the median of the Toll Road.

Only now, with the economy imploding and no one selling houses, Fairfax County is looking at drastic service cuts (PDF) to the Connector service, including eliminating several "express" routes connecting Reston to the Pentagon and Crystal City. Among the routes on the chopping block:

  • 556, Reston Town Center to North Point to the Wiehle Park-N-Ride
  • 595 to the Pentagon
  • 597 to Crystal City
Also, routes 553, 557 and 585, which ply to and fro various South Reston hotspots before heading to the West Falls Church Metro, would be "cut by 40 percent." We don't know if that means they'll replace the buses with minivans equipped with booster seats or what. The 505, which goes from Wiehle to WFC, would also be reduced to 30-minute intervals.

People have voiced their concerns about these and other trivial cuts to police, fire, education and just about every other vital service the country provides. But they're not trying hard enough! If they want to do something, they should find a way to sell their houses at 2007 prices, thereby overfilling the country's coffers and making everything perfect again forever, the end.

In the meantime, we recommend hitchhiking, or maybe one of those fancy electric cars.

6 comments:

  1. I realize that Fairfax County is facing a record budget shortfall; however, the elimination of Route 595 is a terrible idea.

    I ride this bus Monday through Friday and it is always packed. All the seats are taken and the aisles are crowded with riders standing.

    If I were to take the metro everyday, it would add 45 minutes to my commute each way. I have tested it out a few times over the past few weeks.

    We were told by a Senior Transporation Planner that only 42% of 595's operating costs are covered by base fare revenue. This is pretty unbelievable to me, sine it is always packed. If our route can only cover 42% of the cost, then what about all the other routes that have 3-5 people on them.

    Fairfax Connector 595 has been a wonderful experience. It is always clean, usually on time and the drivers are friendly. It would reallly be a shame to cut this route, not jsut for me, but for the hundreds of riders who take Route 595 every day.

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  2. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonMarch 25, 2009 at 4:51 PM

    Great strategy by Fairfax County to encourage mass transit usage! The above poster makes a very good point about the express service. The 553, 557, and 585 all provide convenient and generally reliable service to the neighborhoods in South Reston. Sigh...I guess at this rate we'll all have to trundle over to Tyson's Corner and let Crystal Koons wow us into buying one of her cars.

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  3. Anyone who rides the RIBS (Reston Internal Bus System) knows that on Sunday the buses (at least the 1 and 3) are often standing room only. Why? Because the buses only run every hour on Sundays. I can only imagine who crowded they will be on weekdays running on the hour. Not to mention that since they are often late, that on the hour makes riding them even more inconvenient.

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  4. You guys just don't get it: It's a tactic to increase your property taxes. By laying out there the most egregious (& stupid in this case) service cut the Board can imagine, it generates all kinds of pressure (like your notes) not to make this service cut. Well, the poor Board shrugs its shoulders, gives up, and just says it has to raise your taxes to cover all the "needed" services. Besides continuing bus service, that would include all their heavily funded pet projects which provide no useful value to Fairfax's citizens.

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  5. We are hearing that the 595 route will increase from the current fare of $3.10 to $7.00 each way. Sounds like a good time to start a slug/carpool. I do not know about you but paying $14 per day. Come on that is extortion!

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  6. Check out the new fare increases here

    http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/connector/fy10_routes_complete.htm

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