The Burke Centre VRE station is already a significant transit complex, with a large parking garage, and ten inbound and ten outbound Virginia Railway Express trains serving the station on weekdays.
Fairfax Connector (and some Metro) buses bring more commuters through this complex. But the focus here has been getting between Burke and D.C. (and its inner suburbs).
A new option will begin here on Monday: express bus service from Burke to Tysons Corner. To speed the trip there will be limited stops in the surrounding neighborhoods, then the bus will use the new Express Lanes on the Beltway to whisk passengers directly to Tysons Corner.
"We are really realizing a huge advantage by using the Express Lanes," explained Christy Wegener of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, while riding a trial run of the new service. "We are estimating that we can save about 20 minutes [of] travel time by using the Express Lanes facility (where we are guaranteed 55 miles an hour). And that's tremendous. That's an important factor in someone's decision to use a bus -- the time that it takes."
There will be nine morning departures from Burke for the new express buses to Tysons. Because Tysons Corner is such a sprawling area, only the first few buses (and the last bus of the morning) will make every stop at Tysons. Most of the morning buses will run specific routes at Tysons, to get commuters closer to their workplace or stores.
There will be two mid-day buses returning to Burke, for people with family emergencies.
The fare for the express buses: four dollars cash, or $3.65 if you use a SmarTrip card.
The officials who inaugurated the service are also planning bus/HOV lanes on secondary roads. Braddock District Supervisor John Cook (R) explained: "It's already in the comprehensive plan, and when we make that Rolling Road to the Beltway lane -- a bus/HOV lane -- then this bus will go cruising past the other traffic on Braddock Road, cutting, probably, [another] ten minutes off the trip."
The new Burke-to-Tysons express bus service starts Monday, and, for the first two weeks, trips will be free.
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