Notes: VRE could get weekend service… and a fare increase

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🚨 You need to know

A VRE train heading south through Potomac Yard (Staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The Virginia Railway Express, which goes from Manassas and Fredericksburg up into D.C. right through Alexandria, could be getting a 5% fare increase and weekend service, Patch first reported.

VRE, which currently only runs weekdays as a commuter train, is considering Saturday service starting next July.

“Based on positive feedback from initial discussions with the Operations Board and key stakeholders (including Keolis and the host railroads), VRE is planning for the introduction of Saturday service in FY 2025,” VRE CEO Rich Dalton said in a memo. “The plan envisions three round trips on each line (Fredericksburg and Manassas), or a total of 12 one-way trains on Saturdays, as compared to the current schedule of 32-weekday trains.”

The VRE is also considering a 5% fare increase to help cover the 10% (roughly $11 million) increase in the train system’s operating budget. The last fare increase was proposed in 2018 and implemented in FY 2020, the memo said.

“In the five years since that 3% fare increase, inflation (as measured by the Consumer Price Index) has reduced the purchasing power of every dollar of fare revenue by more than 18 percent,” Dalton said. “While avoiding fare increases during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic was an understandable response, the significant inflation in 2021 and 2022 has many agencies now weighing how best to raise revenue while also not turning off new and returning riders.”

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