Potomac News Online | OmniLink bus service to raise fares, add stops

OmniLink riders will see service and fare changes starting Monday.

Among other changes, routes will be streamlined, 69 new bus stops will be added, and extended reduced-fare hours will be implemented.

“We’re interested in what we can do to increase ridership,” said Al Harf, executive director of the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, which operates OmniLink.

Bus stops will be changed to remedy long stretches on routes in Manassas and Manassas Park where there are few or no stops, as well as place routes closer to residential areas.

Of the 25 new Manassas OmniLink stops, 14 will be in Manssas and 11 will be in Prince William County. They will be located along Sudley Road, Ashton Avenue, Rixlew Lane, Hendley Road and Wellington Road. Manassas Park OmniLink will benefit from 27 new stops, seven of those in the city, 12 in the county and eight in Manassas. Sudley Road, Portsmouth Road and Manassas Drive will see those new stops. Some stops will be shared by both lines.

The cross-county route will obtain four new stops in Manassas and nine in the county. The metro routes will also see a significant increase in stops as well.

Off-route trips, where a passenger could request a route deviation of up to three-quarters of a mile, will now cost one dollar. They will still be free for senior citizens and disabled riders.

“We’re hoping to cut down on the number of people who need to request off-route trips,” said Christine Rodrigo, public relations specialist for PRTC. “That will hopefully keep the buses on schedule a little better.”

Fares will increase for the first time in seven years.

“We’ve been having to increase the subsidies that the cities and the county provides for the bus service,” Rodrigo said. “This is a way to more equitably distribute the funds that are necessary to continue operating the buses.”

The local 75-cent fare will increase to a dollar, with the reduced fares rising from 35 cents to 50 cents. Fares for commuter buses increase from $35 for a 10-pack of tokens to $38, or $5.50 cash per ride. The fare to Metro stations was $1.75, which will increase to $2.50 on Monday. A 10-pack of tokens can be purchased for $20.

But riders can still use their old tokens until they run out.

In an attempt to decrease some of the burden for riders, PRTC will implement an all-day pass, which can be purchased for $2.25. Rodrigo said if someone wanted to ride from Dumfries to somewhere beyond U.S. 1, the rider would have to take two buses each way. And with a new fare of $1 per ride, they’d spend $4 round-trip. The pass gives access to ride all day long.

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