Thursday, August 28, 2008

VRE back on track?

Starting this week, train number 306 from Fredericksburg is back to the old cars. Long gone are the smooth riding Kawasakis. Why would that be a good thing, you ask? Because it means the train can once again accelerate and brake quickly, and all the doors open up, decreasing the wait time at stations. That means we were EARLY into Crystal City this morning for the first time in 2 months. July was miserable. August had the conductors on their toes and relatively on time, but this change is awesome. Sure it means sitting on older seats, and putting up with more noise. But in the end, time is king.

In other VRE news, the city is working with CSX, VRE and the state to start discussions on the train station. A total fix is sure to cause major interruptions, so over the next few years keep listening for comment sessions so that you can see the proposed options. Riders also received an email this week to expect another fare raise next year. The unfortunate fallout from the state failing to fix transportation funding means that $12M destined for VRE won't be available. This money was going to be spent on new locomotives, which would have been more efficient, and reduced maintenance expenses. I've heard that the proposal is anywhere from a 6%-10% increase. That's still cheaper than the increase in the cost of gas, but at what point do you start getting fewer riders?

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