Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Are Commuter Buses a Realistic Option?

In theory, we could run a lot more people down our major transportation corridors if we could persuade them to ride in commuter buses. And in theory, the bus trips should appeal to commuters, who can read, chat or work on their long, stress-free rides to work. That's the logic behind an experiment being conducted in the Winchester-Front Royal area, where 25 commuters have signed up for a commuter bus service that takes them into Washington, D.C., every day.

Trouble is, Winchester-based Schrock Bus Lines needs at least 32 committed drives to sustain the service. Currently, the financial gap is being filled by the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission. But the subsidy expires in July.

If another seven or eight commuters can be found, the project may be sustainable. And it may serve as a model for other communities on the periphery of the Washington New Urban Region. A dozen buses... 32 commuters per bus... Commuter buses could take 384 commuters off the highways.

That's only a drop in the bucket, to be sure, but there is no silver-bullet solution to traffic congestion. The "solution" consists of literally dozens of small-scale initiatives that bubble up from entrepreneurs, community groups and developers. Multiply the commuter buses by 100 other projects--including the development of mixed-use communities that provide a balance of housing, jobs and amenities, and reduce the need for long car trips--and we can make a real dent in congestion.


At 8:42 AM, Blogger COD said...

There are about a dozen commuter trips from Fredericksburg to DC each day. I did it for about a year. It beats driving, but you are still spending 3 hours a day commuting to and from work.

At 12:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Based on figures from a middleburg based bus line the costs per passenger mile are equivalent to driving. Why?, because the bus driver parks the bus and waits, on the clock for the return trip.

What is really needed is more jobs in Front Royal.

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