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Cut one train, don't raise fares, some say page 2
VRE gets public reaction to possible fare increases

Date published: 9/22/2008


Donna Smith of Stafford said Manassas Line trains historically have enjoyed better on-time performance, and currently have an additional train. Cutting one of their trains could save money, Smith said.

Zehner said he would look at that possibility, saying about 9,000 people ride the Fredericksburg Line, compared to around 7,000 on the Manassas Line.

"The growth is over here," he said.

Zehner plans to make a recommendation to VRE's Operations Board in October about January fare increases, and a recommendation in December about fare increases that would take affect in July.

Zehner explained the reasons for the fare increases or service reductions. Diesel fuel costs are up 78 percent for VRE this year. It will spend about $4 million more on fuel than it budgeted for 2009 and 2010.

"It's very volatile, and it's something we struggle with," Zehner said.

Also, VRE had hoped to receive $25 million annually from new taxes and fees that would've been raised through the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.

When the Virginia Su-preme Court declared the state law that created the authority unconstitutional, that funding evaporated.

Finally, most of VRE's operational funding comes from communities who belong to VRE and the state.

"Both of them are in not-good shape," Zehner said.

Kelly Hannon: 540/374-5436
Email: khannon@freelancestar.com

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Commuter Comments

Riders may still comment on the proposed VRE fare increases. You may comment by e-mail to: publiccomment@vre.org.

Comments can be mailed to: Virginia Railway Express, Public Comment, 1500 King St. Suite 202, Alexandria, Va. 22314