VRE holds public hearings on ways to reduce crowding

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Capital Land,Kytja Weir

Virginia Railway Express is considering some policy changes to help reduce crowding on its trains.

But to do so, it needs to seek input from riders as the changes would affect some fares, though not the standard ticket.

The proposed changes, which could take effect as soon as April, include:

  • Discontinue the group discount. Currently the agency offers a 50 percent discount off fares for groups of 10 or more passengers. Ending the discount could discourage groups and free up space.
  • Reduce the step-up fare to ride Amtrak by as much as $5. The idea is that more VRE riders would switch to Amtrak trains, opening up seats on VRE railcars. VRE estimates it would cost the agency about $300,000 and boost Amtrak ridership by about 60,000 trips per year.
  • Ban bicycles from the trains unless they are collapsible because full bikes take up space. 

The agency is hosting public hearings this week and next:

  • Wednesday: noon, Washington Court Hotel, 525 New Jersey Ave. NW, Washington, 20001
  • Feb. 23: 7 p.m., Burke Centre Conservancy, “The Commons” Community Center, 5701 Roberts Parkway, Burke, 22015
  • Feb. 24: noon, VRE offices, 1500 King Street, Suite 202, Alexandria, 22314

Written comments will be accepted through March 4 by snail mail, fax or e-mail:

  • Snail mail: Send attention to: Milton Telleria 1500 King Street, Suite 202, Alexandria,  22314.
  • Email: publiccomment@vre.org 
  • Fax: 703-684-1313.
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