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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Sewer Line Installation Prompts Bus Stop, Lane Closure in Reston

A construction company is installing sanitary sewers lines for the temporary station off of Cameron Glen Drive.

As a result, one lane of Town Center Parkway will be closed periodically starting on Thursday (May 16) for roughly two weeks.

Bus stop #3597 for the Fairfax Connector will be temporarily closed as well.

Riders should use bus stop #3596, which is south of Cameron Glen Drive behind the Reston District Police Station.

Plans for the new Reston Fire and Station 25 are in motion.

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Slick Roads, Ice Possible Thursday Morning Around Reston

Locals can expect warmer temperatures later today, yet they should still be careful about ice and slick roads around Reston and Herndon today.

The D.C.-area could feel a high up to 52 degrees today, according to the National Weather Service. Yesterday’s rain and sleet after the snowstorm hit might create hazardous road conditions this morning.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is warning locals about icy spots and to be careful of any debris in the roadways. If you plan on walking outside, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue suggests a side-to-side “penguin” walk on any potentially icy ground.

Speaking of getting around, the Fairfax Connector is back to its regular service schedule today.

https://twitter.com/VaDOTNOVA/status/1098543811851153409

Photo via @greatfallsva/Instagram

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Snowstorm Sparks Closures, Altered Schedules Around County

Winter weather today means not just kids are enjoying a snow day. Several offices and services are closed or have altered schedules today as a mix of snow, rain and sleet hits Fairfax County.

Transportation 

The Fairfax Connector is running on a Saturday schedule today.

Metro trains will run every 12 minutes, while buses are on a “severe snow service plan” with only limited service on major roadways.

Fairfax County

Fairfax County government offices are closed, along with golf courses and county parks.

The Fairfax County Circuit Court, General District Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court are closed as well.

The county’s Planning Commission won’t meet tonight.

Reston

The Reston Animal HospitalReston Community Center and Reston Association offices including the Walker Nature Center and Central Services Facility are closed.

The open house for Lake House for today has been canceled.

The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce canceled its events for today.

Herndon

HealthWorks in Herndon will be closed.

If you live in Herndon, don’t expect your recycling to get picked up today. Mayor Lisa Markel posted on Facebook that recycling will be collected on Thursday instead.

Items from the Town of Herndon’s previously planned meetings for the Architectural and Heritage Preservation review boards are now moved to the March 20 public hearing.

The Town of Herndon’s offices and the Herndon Community Center are closed.

Photo via @billwhe67/Twitter

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Fatal Herndon car crash on Saturday — “Detectives are asking for the public’s help in identifying two victims from this morning’s [Feb. 16] fatal single vehicle crash.  Officers responded to the crash around 4:26 a.m. on southbound Route 28 near the McLearen Road exit.” [Fairfax County Police Department]

Winter storm on its way — Heads up for tomorrow: expect sleet, ice and several inches of snow. The National Weather Service’s Winter Storm Warning will be in effect from 1 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday (Feb. 20). [National Weather Service]

Bus meeting tonight — The rescheduled meeting for public input on local bus service provided by Fairfax Connector in the Herndon-Reston area will take place from 6-8 p.m. tonight at the Herndon Senior Center (873 Grace Street). [DC Commute Times]

Election for 86th District seat — Voting today will decide the replacement for now-State Sen. Jennifer Boysko’s former seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. The county has information about where, when and how to vote in the special election. [Fairfax County]

Interactive show at Great Falls Senior Center — The Great Falls Senior Center welcomes back Mary Ann Jung’s interactive show today. Jung, who has been recreating historical women for more than 30 years, will portray Margaret Brent, a colonial woman who was America’s first female landowner, lawyer and first to demand the vote in the 1640s. Lunch will be provided. [Great Falls Senior Center]

Rolling in the money — “[Reston-based] Sequoia Holdings Inc., a leading provider of software and cloud engineering services for the U.S. intelligence community, has received an equity investment from Chart National, L.P., a New York-based private equity fund with deep relationships within the intelligence community and the U.S. Department of Defense.” [Business Wire]

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Reston, Herndon and Fairfax County Presidents’ Day Closures

Presidents’ Day is coming up on Monday (Feb. 18). Whether or not you plan to spend the day remembering past U.S. presidents, check this list if you’re planning to visit government facilities around Fairfax County.

Fairfax County 

Fairfax County’s libraries and courts will be closed.

The county’s public schools will be closed.

The Fairfax Connector will be running on a holiday weekday schedule and some routes won’t operate.

Colvin Run Mill Historic Site will be closed, while Frying Pan Farm Park will remain open.

County trash and recycling collection will not have any changes to the collection schedule next week.

Reston

The Reston Association offices, including the Central Services Facility and Nature House, will be closed.

Reston Community Center will be open.

Herndon

Town of Herndon government offices will be closed.

Refuse will not be collected and will resume service on Tuesday (Feb. 19).

The Herndon Community Center will be open from 6 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Classes will be held as scheduled.

The Herndon Centennial Golf Course will be open from 8 a.m. to until dark.

DMV and more

All Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) customer service centers will be closed.

Metrorail will be running on a weekend schedule, while Metrobus service will operate on a Saturday supplemental schedule, with some late-night trips canceled on select routes.

Speaking of closed offices, Reston Now will be on a break as well on Monday.

File photo

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Reston Association to Discuss Zoning Proposal

Tonight is the Planning Commission’s meeting on contentious proposed zoning changes that would increase the population density in Reston. Tomorrow night, the Reston Association is set to discuss that proposal.

The proposal would increase the maximum allowed population per acre in the Planned Residential Community (PRC) district — Reston’s primary zoning district — from 13 persons up to 15.

Back in December, RA’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to continue its opposition to the proposed zoning amendment.

The RA also will receive a briefing from Tom Biesiadny, the director of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation. FCDOT is currently seeking input on changes to Fairfax Connector service.

The public meeting tomorrow (Jan. 24) is set to start at 6:30 p.m. at RA’s headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive).

The draft agenda for the meeting is available online.

Photo via Reston Association/YouTube

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Reston, Herndon and Fairfax County MLK Holiday Closures

Several government facilities around Fairfax County are closed today (Jan. 18) for Lee-Jackson Day and on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day this coming Monday (Jan. 21).

Fairfax County 

Fairfax County’s courts are closed today and Monday.

Fairfax County’s government offices and libraries will be closed on MLK Day.

The county’s public schools will get off three hours early today and be closed on MLK Day.

The Fairfax Connector will run on a holiday weekday schedule MLK Day. A full list of routes running in the Reston area is available online.

Frying Pan Farm Park will remain open on MLK Day, while Colvin Run Mill Historic Site will be closed.

County trash and recycling collection will not have any changes to its schedule on MLK Day.

Reston

The Reston Association offices, including Central Facilities and the Nature House, will be closed on MLK Day.

Herndon

Town of Herndon government offices will be closed on MLK Day.

The Community Center will have altered hours from 6 a.m.-10 p.m. on MLK Day.

Metro, DMV and more

All Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) customer service centers will are closed today and Monday.

Metro will operate on a Saturday schedule, opening at 5 a.m. and close at 11:30 p.m. on MLK Day. Off-peak fares will be in effect all day, and parking will be free at all Metro-operated facilities. Meanwhile, Metrobus will run on a Saturday supplemental schedule with some late-night trips canceled on selected routes.

Speaking of closed offices, Reston Now will be on a break on MLK Day.

File photo

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Thursday Morning Notes

SAIC acquires Engility Holdings, Inc. — The merger completed on Jan. 14. The combined company will keep the SAIC name and the headquarters in Reston. [Business Wire]

Free bus rides for furloughed workers — Starting today, the Fairfax Connector will let furloughed workers ride for free with their federal photo ID. [Fairfax County]

How-to for buying a new TV — Head to the Reston Regional Library today for help figuring out which TV is best for you. The presentation by the Fairfax County Department of Cable and Consumer Services will run from 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. [Fairfax County]

Flu season is upon us — If you end up getting sick, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a handy guide for comparing your symptoms to the flu and what to do if the illness worsens. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Photo via Ray Copson

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FCDOT Seeks Input on Fairfax Connector Service in Herndon, Reston 

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) is seeking public input on the Fairfax Connector in the Herndon-Reston area as it looks toward improvements for the local bus service.

Future recommended improvements will also consider connecting the planned Metrorail Silver Line Phase 2 stations in Herndon and Reston, according to the county.

Ultimately, FCDOT aims to increase mobility and schedule reliability, create better access to destinations, improve travel times and grow ridership.

Over the next few weeks, Fairfax Connector staff will hand out information about how locals can get engaged and provide input, along with “free ride coupons” for use on all Fairfax Connector buses in the Herndon-Reston area.

Locals can provide feedback in a variety of ways, including:

  • attending an interactive community meeting
  • filling out an online survey
  • emailing input to [email protected]
  • mailing comments to 4050 Legato Road, Suite 400 in Fairfax, Va.

FCDOT will hold two interactive community meetings with interactive exercises to explore travel needs, issues and ideas. The first one is scheduled to take place at the RCC Lake Anne’s Jo Ann Rose Gallery (1609-A Washington Plaza) from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Jan. 26. The second one is set to take place at the Herndon Middle School’s cafeteria (901 Locust Street) from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 29.

People have until Feb. 15 to provide public input. After the deadline, FCDOT staff will compile the comments to incorporate into future planning.

FCDOT will then come back to the community in the spring to hold more community meetings to present and discuss a draft plan for future improvements for the service area.

The move to improve the bus service comes just a month after changes to the bus schedule were announced to make it easier for Herndon High School students to catch a ride were unveiled.

Starting on Saturday (Jan. 19), Routes 924 and 926 will be adjusted to align with the school’s bell schedule and provide better access for Herndon High School students.

File photo

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Reston, Herndon and Fairfax County Holiday Closures

In case you were planning to visit these government facilities around Fairfax County during the holiday season, check to see whether or not they will be closed on Christmas Eve (Dec. 24), Christmas (Dec. 25), New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31) and Jan. 1.

Fairfax County 

Fairfax County’s government offices, libraries and courts will be closed Christmas Eve, Christmas and Jan. 1.

The county’s public schools will be on winter break from Monday, Dec. 24, until Friday, Jan. 4.

The Fairfax Connector will be running on a holiday weekday schedule for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. A full list of routes running in the Reston area is available online. The next day, the bus will operate on a Sunday schedule for Christmas and Jan. 1.

Frying Pan Farm Park and Colvin Run Mill Historic Site will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Jan. 1.

County trash and recycling collection will not happen on Christmas. The updated collection schedule for next week is:

  • Tuesday customers will have collection on Wednesday (Dec. 26)
  • Wednesday customers will have collection on Thursday (Dec. 27)
  • Thursday customers will have collection on Friday (Dec. 28)
  • Friday customers will have collection on Saturday (Dec. 29)

Reston

The Reston Association offices will be closed for Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Jan. 1.

Nature House will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Reston Community Center Lake Anne will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Jan. 1.

Reston Community Center at Hunters Woods will be closed on Christmas. It will have modified hours from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and from noon to 5 p.m. on Jan. 1.

The Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center will be closed on Christmas. It will have modified hours from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and from noon to 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 1.

Herndon

Town of Herndon government offices will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas and Jan. 1.

Refuse will be collected on Christmas Eve, but refuse normally collected on Tuesdays will be collected on Thursday (Dec. 27) and New Year’s Eve.

The Herndon Community Center will be closed on Christmas and Jan. 1.

The Herndon Centennial Golf Course will only be closed for Christmas.

Metro, DMV and more

All Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) customer service centers will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Jan. 1.

The Metro and Metrobus will be running a Sunday schedule on Christmas and Jan. 1, operating from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. The Metro will provide special late-night rail service on New Year’s Eve with trains running until 2 a.m. on Jan. 1.

Speaking of closed offices, Reston Now will be on breaks for Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Jan. 1.

File photo

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Fairfax Connector Changes Schedule to Align With Herndon High School

New changes to the Fairfax Connector bus schedule will hopefully make it easier for Herndon High School students to catch a ride.

Starting on Jan. 19, Routes 924 and 926 will be adjusted to align with the school’s bell schedule and provide better access for Herndon High School students.

The route is a weekday rush hour service only that that runs from the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station to the Town Center Plaza on Leesburg Pike.The route runs directly past Herndon High School.

The changes were approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in November, where Supervisor John Foust praised the swift response of Fairfax County Department of Transportation staff to issue the change.

“I just wanted to thank our transit group for being so responsive,” said Foust. “We have the ability to make connector services available to Herndon High School students by tweaking the schedule. I brought it to their attention and next thing I know, bam, it’s done.”

At the meeting, the Board of Supervisors also approved a new bus route in Vienna.

Photo via Facebook

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Service Disruption Planned for Herndon-Monroe Park & Ride Bus Loop

A six-week partial bus loop closure is planned near the Herndon-Monroe Park & Ride facility.

Beginning on Monday (Oct. 29), crews will install a precast stair tower at the southwest corner of the Herndon-Monroe bus loop. The southwest portion of the loop will be closed to traffic between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. during the weekdays.

All service and bus stop locations before 10 a.m. and after 3 p.m. will not be affected by the closure.

The installation of the tower is expected to be complete by December. Passengers should expect delays and BusTrack arrival times will likely be affected, according to an announcement by the Fairfax County Department of Transportation.

Updated stop locations can be found below:

Photo via FCDOT

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County Completes $14 Million Renovation Project of Reston-Herndon Bus Garage Facility

Ahead of the completion of phase two of the Silver Line project, a nearly $14 million renovation project of the Reston-Herndon bus garage facility on 268 Spring Street is complete.

County officials said the facility will help support Fairfax Connector bus operation in Reston and Herndon as the Silver Line project brings more demand to the area.

The project was funded through revenue from the commercial and industrial tax and general obligation bonds. A ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of the new facility was held today (September 19).

Staff now have a working environment that is safer, more efficient, and more comfortable than before,” county officials wrote in a statement.

The renovation project includes the following:

  • An existing bay was closed to create a new drive-through bus wash
  • Addition construction for exterior tire storage
  • Upgrades to vehicle lifts and service equipment
  • Creation of automated parts storage system
  • Modernization of drivers lounge and administration areas
  • Addition of new fueling station
  • Replacement of bus parking lot surface with heavy-duty concrete
  • New parking lot for staff

Photo via Fairfax County Government

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What’s Open, What’s Closed on Labor Day

As we head into Labor Day weekend, here’s a look at some area closing for the holiday. 

Public schools, libraries, county offices, the county’s animal shelter, Circuit Court, General District Court, and Reston Community Center will be closed.

Fairfax Connector bus service will operate on a Sunday schedule. The Metrorail system will be open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and will also run on a Sunday schedule. Parking will be free at Metro parking facilities and off-peak fares will be in effect. Metrobus will also run on a Sunday schedule.

Most county parks will be open. Frying Pan Farm Park is open but the visitor’s center will be closed. Reston Association offices, including the Central Services Facility and the Walker Nature Center, will also be closed, but RA pools will be open on Labor Day weekend. 

The hours of pools are as follows:

  • North Shore heated pool & spa: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Ridge Heights heated pool: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Lake Newport 50-meter pool: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
All Reston Association offices, including the Nature House and Central Services Facility, will be closed Monday, Sept. 3.

Photo via DKrebs Via Flickr Creative Commons

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