The News & Record
South Boston News & Record
and Mecklenburg Sun
Home   •   News   •   Sports   •   Classifieds   •   Community   •   Health   •   Entertainment   •   Obituaries   •   Opinions   •   Weather
Advertising | Contact | Register
Advanced Search
News

Halifax County Supes meet today

Woodview residents to be tested after employee is infected

Judge deals latest setback to uranium mining effort


Sports

Junior golfers bring home wins in season finale

Four division winners in Southside Piedmont Junior championships golf play hail from county courses

Community


Opinion


A&E

News

Catch a bus to the big city

South Boston News
SoVaNow.com / July 30, 2020
South Boston last hosted a commercial bus line about a decade ago — a gap in service that will end next Friday, Aug. 7 when Virginia Breeze passenger buses roll through town, with stops in Richmond and Washington D.C. and access to points beyond.

The Virginia Breeze Transit System is a new initiative of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, which is launching three routes to connect different parts of the state: the Valley Flyer, the Piedmont Express, and the Capital Connector. The Capital Connector will run from Martinsville to Richmond along U.S. 58 and Route 360/15 and then continue on to Washington, D.C. via I-95.

Passenger stops from Martinsville will be offered in Danville, South Boston at the Pilot Travel Center, Farmville, Richmond and Washington. The same stops will be made on the daily return route. The trip from South Boston to the nation’s capital is just over five hours, according to the online bus schedule.

“Once you leave Richmond, it’s express all the way to Washington, D.C.,” said Haley Glynn, a spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT).

The Virginia Breeze buses are sure to attract attention, with their hot pink-and-blue color schemes and wave-like curves embossed on the sides. The buses are scheduled to board passengers at the Pilot Travel Center in South Boston at 8:15 a.m. and arrive at Union Station in Washington at 1:30 p.m.

One-way tickets are $35.99 plus a $2.50 booking fee with the return trip having the same cost. The return bus will depart the following day at 1:05 p.m. and be back in South Boston by 6:10 p.m., according to the schedule — allowing time for an overnight visit with sightseeing, shopping and a night out in the big city metropolis.

In choosing a boarding site for the bus service, DRPT officials spoke with local consultants, South Boston Town Manager Tom Raab, IDA Director of Economic Development Brian Brown and then-tourism director Linda Shepherd. The Pilot Travel Center, which houses the Bojangles on U.S. 58, was deemed to be ideal because it was previously used by the Greyhound bus line and met all the site requirements: an adequate turning radius for buses, efficient loading times, lighting, parking safety, and property management approval.

“So logically it made sense to reestablish service in a location the public was already familiar with,” said Glynn.

It’s been approximately 10 years since Greyhound last offered service in town, according to DRPT records.

The Virginia Breeze Bus Lines is launching three routes: the Valley Flyer, the Piedmont Express, and the Capital Connector. As with the Capital Connector, the Piedmont Express will offer a passenger stop in Danville. Instead of heading further east, however, the Piedmont Express will turn north up U.S. 29 with service to Altavista, Lynchburg, Amherst, Charlottesville, Culpeper, Warrenton, Gainesville, Dulles Airport, and Union Station in Washington, D.C.

The Valley Flyer provides daily routes between Blacksburg and Washington. This is the new name of the original Virginia Breeze transportation service which launched in 2017. It has been very popular with college students, especially those who attend Virginia Tech.

The state transit department temporarily suspended intercity bus service on April 10 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Virginia Breeze returned July 24 with the redubbed Valley Flyer service. The Piedmont Express and Capital Connector routes start fresh Aug. 7.

With the goal of giving rural dwellers easy access to metro areas, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation is projecting robust ridership for the bus service. DRPT is projecting annual ridership of 5,500 on the Capital Connector bus and 10,500 riders on the Piedmont Express.

The popularity of the Valley Flyer line has surprised officials with the state transit agency.

“As our first state-sponsored intercity bus service, the Virginia Breeze’s inaugural route — now known as the Valley Flyer — exceeded all of our expectations,” said Jennifer Mitchell, Director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation. “Last year, it provided a total of 33,210 rides, reducing congestion and providing essential travel alternatives for all Virginians.”

New safety measures have been put into place to protect riders and bus employees from the pandemic. Passengers able to safely do so will be required to wear face coverings. Buses will also operate at 50 percent capacity, with an empty seat next to each passenger. Passengers traveling together, such as members of the same household, may sit together in a shared row. Additional safety guideline are available online.

To learn more about the Valle Breeze Transit service and to purchase tickets, visit virginiabreeze.org



Tell-a-Friend | Submit a Comment

21

Sports Coverage

See complete sports coverage for Halifax and Mecklenburg counties.