As a member of the OmniRide Board of Directors, Occoquan District Supervisor Kenny Boddye is excited to announce the addition of new buses: 15 commuter and four local. Nine of these were purchased through NVTC’s Commuter Choice program. The Department of Rail and Public Transit (DRPT) purchased three of the commuter buses and Prince William County funded three local, and four commuter, buses.
“While we continue to invest in road capacity, adding lanes will never be the whole solution. Transit remains an essential piece of keeping the people of Prince William County moving,” said Supervisor Boddye. “These additions to the OmniRide fleet are investments in fighting gridlock, in reducing our carbon footprint, and in increasing transportation equity.”
The commuter buses will serve the Staffordboro Commuter Lot – with transportation to Washington, D.C, and the Pentagon. Features include custom designed upholstery, passenger seatbelts, charging stations, brighter destination signs, and an on-board air purifier.
OmniRide marked the occasion with a ribbon cutting at its Western Facility in Manassas on Aug. 23. Remarks were made by Board Chair Victor Angry, OmniRide Executive Director Bob Schneider, and Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) Executive Director Kate Mattice.
“I am so proud to be able to officially introduce one of 15 new MCI commuter buses and four Gillig buses that we are adding to our fleet. The addition of these buses will allow us to maintain an adequate contingency fleet and give customers safe and comfortable rides, as they reduce traffic and improve air quality – which has been our mission for 37 years. The addition of these buses will also allow us to expand and increase the frequency of OmniRide services ,” said Schneider. “I want to thank the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, Prince William County, and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation for their funding assistance, which has made this acquisition possible.”
The Commuter Choice program invests Express Lanes toll revenues in public transit and other multimodal projects along I-66 and I-395/95 in Northern Virginia. The purpose is to improve the reliability and efficiency of commuting in one of the most congested regions in the nation. This funding increases mobility options for residents, supports the regional economy, and is used to support projects that help to reduce congestion and emissions. Since its inception in 2017, Commuter Choice has provided over $31 million to OmniRide for four new routes, enhanced service on six routes, and 13 new buses.
Mattice said, “We know OmniRide provides fast, reliable, and safe trips for our region’s commuters. We’re excited that these improvements make riding better for existing riders and will help attract new riders. It’s also no surprise we’ve seen increases in ridership across OmniRide’s express commuter routes. In fact, the OmniRide services supported by Commuter Choice surpassed ridership targets in the last fiscal year.
Mattice continued, “As our region’s express lanes network grows, we continue to see OmniRide capitalize on new opportunities to serve long distance commuters, beyond new buses with better amenities. OmniRide restructured its express routes along I-66 when the Outside the Beltway Express Lanes opened in late 2022 to serve new commuter lots with direct access to the lanes. Following last week’s opening of the 95 Express Lanes Fredericksburg Extension, we look forward to new OmniRide service this winter that will originate from points further south in the I-95 corridor.”