Region's first bus-only lanes to open in August - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Region's first bus-only lanes to open in August

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. -

Later this summer, a new kind of bus service will be offered in the metropolitan area. Buses will run between Alexandria and Arlington, and part of the route will consist of bus-only lanes. It is a first for the area.

There already is bus service between Arlington’s Crystal City Metro stop and Alexandria’s Braddock Road station. But that service runs, in part, down a rather congested section of Route 1. The solution: dedicated bus lanes in which no other traffic can enter.

Workers in Alexandria are putting the finishing touches on the isolated bus lanes, which are being built in a part of the city which is bustling with construction of homes, and, in the future, where there will be more offices and more retail.

Although D.C. has scaled back its grand plan for streetcars, parts of that project are moving forward. Arlington, for the moment, is also committed to streetcars down Columbia Pike, although cost increases are giving some politicians pause.

This project, a busway, will be much, much less expensive than streetcars, but, if successful, it could be converted to rail at a later date.

Initially, only about one mile of the busway will be isolated from other traffic. For the rest of the route, buses will run in regular traffic lanes. On some parts of the route, parking will be restricted to facilitate the movement of traffic.

In the future, most of the route will be on exclusive lanes.

At first, fares will be collected in the normal way: paying at the farebox in the front of the bus. Ultimately, passengers will pay for their fares on the busway at shelters -- before boarding -- to quicken the process of getting on and getting off.

During rush hours, service between Braddock Road and Crystal City will run every 12 minutes. During off-peak periods (and weekends), buses will run every 20 minutes.

The new bus service is scheduled to begin on August 24.


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