Service To D.C. A ‘Breeze’

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October 26, 2018
Bus Passenger Level Exceeds Expectations
Daily News-Record  10/26/18
HARRISONBURG — Parth Parikh was walking from class Thursday afternoon when he caught a sight that could make life easier for him and his parents.
Being a freshman at James Madison University, Parikh is not allowed to have a vehicle, which makes it hard to get home to Winchester.
On Thursday, he came across the Virginia Breeze bus, which connects Blacksburg with Washington, D. C., and points in between.
“I’d never heard of this bus before, but I can’t wait to tell my parents about this service,” he said. “My parents aren’t always able to pick me up from campus, but now I can take this bus home.”
Operated under contract through the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, the Virginia Breeze stopped by JMU as part of a tour along the route to highlight the service.
It started Dec. 1 and was expected to serve 7,500 passengers during its first year. With more than a month to go till its one-year anniversary, it has exceeded expectations with more than 14,500 riders.
It operates seven days a week and stops at Virginia Tech, Christiansburg, Lexington, Staunton, Harrisonburg, Front Royal, Dulles International Airport, West Falls Church and Union Station.
“This will be a perfect way for me to get home for the holidays,” Parikh said. “Now, I can make sure I’m home for Christmas.”
Each bus has 56 available seats and features Wi- Fi, electrical outlets, and space for one carry-on along and one checked bag.
The service is operated by Dillon’s, a subsidiary of New Jersey-based Coach USA.
Service going in each direction runs every day. One bus leaves Blacksburg at 8 a.m. and arrives at Union Station by 2:30 p.m. The other leaves Union Station at 9:20 a.m. and gets to Blacksburg by 3:30 p.m.
The route is funded by a $700,000 federal transit grant.
Tickets range from $15 to $50 depending on where passengers start and end their trip.
Lee Eshelman, transportation demand manager at JMU, said he lobbied for the bus service, and though ridership has exceeded expectations, he believes it will continue to increase.
“This is a great way to allow students to be able to get home to their family or go visit friends at Virginia Tech,” he said, “and I think the more students hear about it, the more successful it will become.”