On Friday, July 24, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) relaunched its Virginia Breeze Intercity Bus service. 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 April 10 temporary suspension of service due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The service route between Blacksburg and Washington, D.C. returned on July 24 under the new name Valley Flyer. Beginning August 7, the Virginia Breeze Bus Lines will offer a total of 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 connect Martinsville to Richmond along the U.S. 58 and I-85 corridors, and then continue on to Washington, D.C., via I-95.
Jennifer Mitchell, Director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation noted that the Valley Flyer Route provided a total of 33,210 rides in 2019.
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. DRPT 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.
To learn more about this service and to purchase tickets, please visit: https://virginiabreeze.org/