Loudoun County to explore expansion of commuter bus service for workforce | New

Loudoun County will begin exploring the feasibility of expanding its commuter bus service into the county from western and northern jurisdictions, according to the May 17 staff report.

The oversight board passed the matter on consent Tuesday, authorizing staff to develop a work plan and funding options for the proposal.

Supervisor Matt Letourneau, R-Dulles, floated the idea of ​​supporting Loudoun businesses and the workforce traveling to and from the county, but also potential employees.

“We hear about labor issues from our employers, we certainly hear about congestion and traffic, we know about environmental concerns,” Letourneau said.

“So if there’s a place or two in the county where we might have a critical mass of people going in the same direction — whether it’s Winchester or Frederick, Md., or Jefferson County or whatever – I really think it would be a great idea for us to start looking at providing this service,” he said.

Loudoun-based businesses have been challenged to recruit and retain employees as the cost of living in the county and other northern Virginia jurisdictions continues to rise, according to the staff report.

With limited transportation options from these areas, the report also states that providing a commuter bus service to Loudoun would help support employers in the county by leveraging transportation service for workers and employees. potentials concerned about limited access to transport, rising transport costs and traffic congestion. .

Chair Phyllis Randall, D-At Large, said she appreciates the idea and hopes the board will also discuss using the proposed service for hobbies and recreation.

“If people want to come to these areas of the county for recreation and recreation without having to bring the car, this is a great place to do that and a great way to use the system,” Randall said.

The council asked staff in their feasibility analysis to include a survey of Loudoun-based businesses and their employees to determine where their workforce commutes from, the level of interest in using the service and desired destinations in the county, the staff report said. .

Additionally, staff will also need to assess the availability of commuter parking facilities at originating locations to ensure that sufficient capacity is available to meet demand and identify the rates needed to fund the service.

The idea comes at a time when the council has increased the availability of affordable housing options and the planned opening of Silver Line Phase 2.

Staff said in their report that passengers could switch from commuter buses to Metrorail and likely result in continued excess capacity within the commuter bus fleet.

Commuter bus ridership was between 3,300 and 4,650 passengers per day on 53 buses on 115 routes before the service was shut down due to the COVID pandemic, the staff report said. Ridership is back to just 9% of pre-pandemic levels and the service operates 49 routes requiring 31 buses.

Melvin Z. Madore