This past Friday, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) relaunched its Virginia Breeze Intercity Bus service route between Blacksburg and Washington, D.C.
The popular service, connecting underserved, rural areas of Virginia along the I-81 and I-66 corridors to the national bus network, returns following the temporary suspension of service due to the COVID-19 pandemic on April 10..
The highly successful Virginia Breeze Intercity Bus service route between Blacksburg and D.C. returned under the new name Valley Flyer. Beginning August 7, the Virginia Breeze Bus Lines will offer three routes: the Valley Flyer; the Piedmont Express, which will connect Danville to Washington, D.C., along the U.S. 29 and I-66 corridors; and the Capital Connector, which will utilize US 360/15 between Farmville and Richmond and then continue on to Washington, D.C., via I-95.
“It is critical that our transportation system supports the recovery of the commonwealth’s economy, creating greater access for Virginians,” said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “As the commonwealth’s only public intercity bus service, Virginia Breeze – now with three routes – will once again provide essential travel connections for communities across Virginia.”
“As our first state-sponsored intercity bus service, the Virginia Breeze’s inaugural route – now known as the Valley Flyer – exceeded all of our expectations,” said Jennifer Mitchell, Director of the commonwealth’s Department of Rail and Public Transportation. “Last year, it provided a total of 33,210 rides, reducing congestion and providing essential travel alternatives for all Virginians.”
Virginia Breeze adopted new branding and taglines to better reflect the bus line’s mission: Connecting the Commonwealth.
Tickets for all the routes are available at virginiabreeze.org/.
The Piedmont Express will provide daily roundtrip service with stops in Danville, Altavista, Lynchburg, Amherst, Charlottesville, Culpeper, Warrenton, Gainesville, Dulles Airport and Union Station. Ridership for this route is projected to be 10,050 annually.
The Capital Connector reestablishes intercity bus service from Martinsville to Richmond, providing daily trips with stops in Martinsville, Danville, South Boston, Farmville, and Richmond. It will also provide express service from Richmond to Washington, D.C., stopping at Union Station. The Department of Rail and Public Transportation anticipates 5,500 riders will take advantage of this route annually.
As part of new safety measures, those passengers able to safely do so will be required to wear face coverings. Buses will also operate at 50 percent capacity, with an empty seat next to each passenger. Passengers traveling together, such as members of the same household, may sit together in a shared row. Additional safety guidelines are posted inside bus shelters, on buses, and virtually on social media and the website.
Funded by the federal Section 5311(f) rural intercity bus program as well as a farebox recovery rate of nearly 80%, Virginia Breeze has more than doubled initial projections and operates at no additional cost to the Commonwealth.