Fairfax Connector’s Driver Shortage Complicates Riders’ Commute

For at least two weeks, the Fairfax Connector has been struggling with a shortage of bus drivers.

Although county officials say the number of missed and delayed trips has dropped over the last week, the shortage continues to impact riders’ commutes across the county. Some riders say buses have missed multiple trips for the last three weeks. Other buses have been delayed.

A service operation alert on the Fairfax Connector’s BusTracker website that previously alerted riders about the shortage was taken down. County officials are unsure why the alert is no longer on the website.

Tom Biesiadny, the director of Fairfax County’s transportation department, told Reston Now that MV Transportation, the current operator for the system, is “working through staffing issues.”

The county plans to switch operators to Transdev North America on July 1. The operator, which was awarded a five-year contract by the county, has started training bus drivers as part of its hiring process. Under the $443 million contract, Transdev will have 730 employees and operate 308 vehicles.

Although the cause and extent of the bus driver shortage is unclear, Biesiadny said the limited bus drivers is a regional issue.

“With the economy doing pretty well and unemployment being very low particularly in Northern Virginia, there’s a shortage of workers in general,” he said.

County officials urged riders to plan their trips ahead of time and check Twitter, Facebook and the Fairfax Connector’s BusTracker for the latest updates.

Riders can also text bus stop IDs to 414-11 to obtain information on trips and the latest bus schedules.

“What we’re trying to make sure that passengers know is that they should sign up for Bus Tracker emails or text alerts to make sure they see any important alerts,” Anna Nissinen, chief of communications for FCDOT, said. “That’s the best way to stay on top of travel.”

Photo via Facebook

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Crime Roundup: Herndon Man Arrested in Sterling 7-Eleven Robbery Case

A Herndon man was charged in connection with the April 25 robbery of a 7-Eleven on Sugarland Drive in Sterling.

Abdul Abid, 25, was arrested on Friday, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s office. The first suspect, Zian Rehman, 19, was arrested on May 2.

Police believe one of the suspects pushed an employee on the front counter of the store toward the cash register and commanded the victim to open the register. One suspect took cash from the register while the other took money from the victim’s wallet, authorities said.

The men threatened the employee, but no weapons were used during the robbery.

Both men were charged with robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, grand larceny and wearing a mask in public. They are being held without bond.

Meanwhile, the Fairfax County Police Department reported the following minor incidents in Reston:

LARCENIES:

1400 block of Lake Fairfax Drive, wallet from location

10500 block of Leesburg Pike, beer from business

11900 block of Market Street, merchandise from business

2200 block of Mill Race Lane, ring from residence

2300 block of Rolling Fork Circle, bicycle from location

11800 block of Sunrise Valley Drive, work equipment from business 

2700 block of West Ox Road, purse from vehicle

Child pornography charges were a common theme last week. As we reported, FCPD unveiled 21 new charges related child pornography for a former Herndon High School teacher.

“Mr. Knick Knack,” a children’s entertainer who performed in the area, also faces 10 felony counts of possession of child photography.

Photo via Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office

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Comstock Hires New Head of Acquisitions

Comstock has hired Mike Daugard to lead acquisitions of new properties as the real estate company moves forward on major projects near Metro sites.

Before joining Comstock, Daugard worked with the Washington Real Estate Investment Trust, Rubenstein Partners, JLL, Lowe Enterprises, and The Mills Corporation.

“We are thrilled to have Mike Daugard on the Comstock team,” said Christopher Clemente, CEO of Comstock. “Mike is a seasoned industry professional with deep market knowledge and insight that enhances Comstock’s ability to identify attractive institutional investment opportunities, increase assets under management across asset classes, and drive bottom line results.” 

Daugard graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a B.S. degree in Finance. He has been an adjunct professor at the school for the last six years.

He will probe ways to expand Comstock’s properties in the area, negotiate transaction details and identify acquisition opportunities.

Comstock announced his hire on Monday (May 13).

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Free Launchbox This Weekend for Their 1 Year Anniversary

Launchbox — the TopGolf inspired golfing experience at 1757 Golf Club’s driving range — is offering the first hour of play for free this Friday through Sunday!

Imagine playing golf with real golf balls and never losing one in a space where pace of play is never an issue. With just a touch of a screen you can be instantly transported to holes on world-famous golf courses like Pebble Beach. Not to mention fresh food prepared by an executive chef and a cocktail menu at your fingertips.

No, this is not something from the mind of a mystical golf movie-script writer. It’s not really something you can get at a purely golf entertainment center like TopGolf or sitting down at a fancy downtown restaurant.

It’s more like an eclectic combination of all these pleasantries and it’s made possible through the magic of TopTracer cameras — the same technology used to show ball flight paths on TV tournaments.

Launchbox has been around for a year, and to celebrate they’re offering the first hour in a bay for free with contests and giveaways. The resident Long Drive Tour Pro will be having a competition where you can try to out hit his 9 iron to win a prize, and the club will be releasing their own beer!

1757 partnered with Brew Republic Bierworks in Woodbridge to create an exclusive Hazy Session IPA. This weekend will be your first chance to taste Swing Easy IPA, and the owner of Beer Republic and their Brewmaster will be on hand Friday from 3-6 p.m.

For more information visit 1757 Golf Club and to book a reservation click here.

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NOVA Tour de Cure Set for June 2 in Reston Town Center

The American Diabetes Association will host its annual Tour de Cure in Reston Town Center next month.

The event, which is set for June 2, is the ADA’s premier cycling fundraising event and the nation’s largest diabetes cycling event.

Participants of all skill levels will use four routes ranging from 20 miles to 106 miles, as well as a 5k run and walk.

Online registration, which is $25, closes on May 31. All minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Fundraising minimums are $250 for riders age 13 and above and $50 for riders age 12 and under. Minimums do not apply to walkers and runners.

Photo courtesy ADA

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Reston Man Killed in Five-Vehicle Crash in West Virginia

A Reston man was killed at the scene of a five-vehicle crash on a highway in West Virginia over the weekend.

John King, 32, was killed on the scene on Saturday, according to a statement by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. Nine people were injured in the crash.

A tractor-trailer failed to slow down in the northbound slow lane on U.S. 340, which is south of Charleston, pushing one vehicle into the other, according to Herald-Mail Media. The four pushed vehicles were mostly mangled, according to the sheriff’s office.

Two of the nine people injured — who were in the same car as King — are from Northern Virginia. Identities of the injured have not been released.

The tractor-trailer was carrying 80,000 pounds of potatoes, Herald-Mail Media reported.

File photo

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Fox Mill Road Closure Rescheduled – The closure, which was originally planned for this week, has been pushed to next week from Monday, May 20 to Thursday, May 23. After that weekend, the road will close against from Tuesday, May 28 to Thursday, May 30. Closures are in effect from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each weekday. [Virginia Department of Transportation]

Walking through Selling Your Home in Reston — Shellie Calloway, a Reston Association staff member who works on covenants, walks members through the process dictated by the Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act. Requirements include RA’s disclosure packet. [Reston Today]

Big Capital Bikeshare Growth Planned — “A recently completed study of the potential for bikeshare in an area largely along Virginia Route 123 from Tysons through Vienna, the City of Fairfax and the George Mason University area recommends expanding Capital Bikeshare into most of that corridor, with future consideration of dockless options particularly in lower density areas.” [WTOP]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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